Mangosuthu Buthelezi's Online Letter
Dear friends and fellow South Africans,
The Institute for Security Studies and Business Against Crime both believe that the decrease in crime announced by the Minister of Police yesterday is due to better partnerships between police, private security companies and business. The IFP has pointed out that the increased police numbers and vigilance during the 2010 FIFA World Cup also played a substantial role.
It is important for us to understand the reasons behind the improved crime statistics, so that we will know how best to keep bringing the numbers down.
While there is a sense of relief and victory in seeing murders and robberies decrease, there is also a sense of urgency about analyzing the trend, rather than just celebrating it.
Knowing what we are doing right will also help us understand what we are doing wrong in preventing the incidence of rape. Besides ATM bombings, rape is the anomaly in the crime statistics. Over the past year it has increased by more than 3 additional cases every day, to reach a total of 56 272 reported cases of rape. Simple math tells us that at any given moment of any day, someone is being raped in South Africa. That is a staggering indictment on our society.
But more so because the increase in sexual offences is against children. In fact, slightly fewer adult women were raped over the past year than the year before, although 137 more were murdered. But when it comes to children, sexual offences increased by 711 incidents. Year on year, the increase in this crime is consistent. Most crimes against children are perpetrated on children between the ages of 15 and 17; except rape. In South Africa, our youngest children are the victims.
Words fail me as I consider this terrible truth. In the light of us pushing back the boundaries on every other crime, what are we doing wrong that leaves our most vulnerable citizens in the greatest danger? Why is sexual deviance against children increasing every year? What is wrong with our society?
I call on our nation's leaders to bring this issue into the public debate.
Let us commission research, let us ask the experts, let us consider every possibility. And whatever we need to do to stop this evil, let us do it. I would be appalled to discover that people still believe the lie that raping a virgin can cure HIV/Aids. But we need to emphasize that this is a lie when we educate communities about HIV/Aids.
Every aspect needs to be considered, including the economic realities that take parents away from the care of their children for many hours of the day.
Children cannot be left alone, or in the sole care of other children. We must become more vigilant, knowing where our children are, who has access to them and who is watching over them. The old adage that it takes a village to raise a child can be altered to South Africa's reality, that it takes a village to protect a child.
We all have this responsibility as human beings, whether we have children of our own or not. Children are not a commodity for adult pleasure. In fact, our depth of civilization can be measured by how safe our children are within our society. So no matter how well we are doing in fighting any other crime, if we fail our children, we have failed indeed.
Yours in the service of the nation,
Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
Liezl van der Merwe
Press Officer to Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi MP
on 082 729 2510