18 August 2014
Government has noted with grave concern the recent spate of killings and abuse of women and children in our country. Today’s editions of media reports highlighted several cases which include the killing of a mother by her 14-year old son, the brutal killing of a 30-year old Bryanston woman who was allegedly stabbed about 50 times, and the rape and killing of a 24-year old Ventersdorp woman for allegedly being a lesbian. This follows hot on the heels of similar negative incidents involving crime against children. Government sends its deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims.
Minister Muthambi, , said “Government is saddened by these incidents, and the loss of life is one too many. These heinous criminal activities are strongly condemned and law enforcement agencies will continue to enforce the rule of law. However, government alone cannot completely address this scourge as it is a societal issue and requires an even more strengthened effort and synergy by all South Africans.”
Despite South Africa’s constitutional and legislative protection, violence based on gender and sexual orientation continues and this will not be tolerated by government. The violence takes different forms such as murder, sexual harassment, abuse, assault, rape, domestic violence and other cultural practices that are harmful to women and children.
Muthambi said, “Government is reiterating President Jacob Zuma’s call to society, communities, inter-faith groups, business, and every sector of this country’s community to work with government to tackle social ills. It is crimes of this nature that ruin the strides that we have made as a country in building a just society. It is also unfortunate that these crimes are happening in Women’s Month, when South Africa is supposed to be celebrating the gains that have been made by women. Government will, however, not be deterred by these incidents and will continue fighting the scourge of women and children abuse. We have put in place key pieces of legislation to protect the rights of women and children against violence. The most prominent of these are the Domestic Violence Act, the Children’s Act and the Criminal law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Act.”
In April 2014, government launched the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons programme to ensure that discrimination based on anyone of the prohibited grounds outlined in Section 9 of the Constitution will simply not be tolerated. The justice system of South Africa will respond harshly to perpetrators of such discriminatory behaviour. South Africa was the first country in the world to legally prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and will soldier on in uprooting any form of violence and discrimination.
“Whilst government acknowledges the prompt response by law enforcement agencies, the onus is placed on every individual to report criminal cases and protect our women and children,” said Muthambi.
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