S Africans urged to fight against gender-based violence

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Pretoria - Cabinet has urged South Africans from all walks of life, young and old, to support the work of government in turning the tide against gender-based violence.  

“As a nation, each South African has a duty to come forward and report these heinous crimes so that perpetrators may be brought to book.

“The criminal justice system will not, on its own be able to eliminate this scourge in our society,” said Acting Cabinet Spokesperson Phumla Williams on Thursday, at a Post Cabinet briefing.

Cabinet is concerned at the recent spike in the incidence of rape and the brutalisation of women and children following the horrific gang rape and murder of a Bredasadorp teenager earlier this month.

Anene Boysen died after an attack by allegedly five men. She was reportedly found by a security guard badly mutilated and left for dead. She later passed away in hospital after identifying one of the men who attacked her.

Williams said the Department of Basic Education, in partnership with LeadSA, have announced details of a major initiative to raise rape awareness and educate over 10 million learners in South African schools. The main event is being planned in the Western Cape on 1 March 2013.

Earlier today, President Jacob Zuma joined the growing war against rape in South Africa, warning that the country faced on-going violence against women and children and it needed to stop.

“We have to build a caring society in which the rights of all are respected, especially the rights of women and children,” Zuma said at an anti-rape campaign in Mitchell’s Plain, outside Cape Town.

The campaign, themed ‘Say no to rape’ is being organised by LeadSA to rally South Africans behind the fight against women and child abuse.

More than 64 000 cases of rape were reported to the police last year. Zuma said while statistics showed a decrease in other crimes and 70 percent conviction rate, the high levels of sexual offences were concerning.

“We have taken a decision to reopen the sexual offences courts so that those arrested can be dealt with before they cause further harm. We reemphasise that men have a role to play in the fight against rape,” Zuma said.

He said the courts continued to deal harshly with perpetrators found guilty of violence.

“During the last financial year, the sexual offences unit secured over 363 life sentences with a conviction rate of 73 percent for crimes against women and children.” - SAnews.gov.za