The IFP is deeply concerned about the increase of child sexual abuse after three children from the Mtshali family were raped in Esibandlana commonly known as 17 in Ward 7, Jozini in the uMkhanyakude District.
Yesterday, I visited three families in Jozini after receiving reports of rape cases from the affected families and thereafter assisted them to open cases with the local police. It is concerning that women and girls in Jozini and in the country at large have to live in fear of being raped by monsters roaming the streets targeting women and girls to fulfil their sexual desires.
What is more discouraging when victims of rape still face more discomfort when trying to report sexual cases to relevant institutions. The coordination between the South African Police Services and Health Facilities with regards to rape cases is appalling and leaves a lot to be desired. Victims are taken from pillar to post and the whole system gives very little faith. The IFP believes that there should be one stop centres in all health facilities where victims can be seen by both the police and health officials.
Rape is a heinous crime. Rape is a violent crime. Criminals deserve to be punished severely. Victims of rape suffer the pain, anguish and shame of it for several years, often for life. Too often, the victims of sexual violence remain faceless and voiceless. The IFP says there is need for greater effort towards effectively implementing human rights, especially those of the most vulnerable members of society, who are children.
Dangerous criminals must be kept off our streets and society, serving harshest possible sentences they deserve – victims want to see it, the public want to see it and I want to see it. To ensure confidence in the system, the punishment must truly fit the crime. We have all seen examples of rapists and murderers let out too soon or people offending again as soon as they’re released. This must end now.
The IFP believes that concrete plans to reduce child sexual abuse and exploitation are needed. Government must not only call for parliament debate on this matter but scale up interventions that accelerate the reduction sexual abuse and killings amongst women and children by engaging men and boys and promoting positive gender norms in early childhood; and building healthy relationships amongst young adolescents.
We must not act as if the solution for rape is a profound and unfathomable mystery. Sexual abuse towards women and children must be given the status of a national threat so that it is prioritised by every police force, and there is a need to launch a new child sexual abuse taskforce and centre of expertise to improve local responses. Government must attempt to understand what drives people to commit offences against children and woman, however unpalatable that may be, to prevent further crimes in the future.
We further believe that, the first order of business in the war against sexual violence in South Africa is to ensure that health providers and law enforcement officers are trained to conduct rigorous investigations so that prosecutions can be successful. And finally, the law should enforce stiffer penalties for service providers who frustrate rape survivors.
Hon Mrs Thembeni KaMadlopha-Mthethwa,
IFP MPL serving on Quality of Life Committee in the KZN Legislature
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