Michelle Jones and
SOUTH AFRICANS have joined in outrage at the horrific rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen – including President Jacob Zuma in a public statement.
Zuma yesterday denounced the brutal attack on the girl in Bredasdorp on Saturday, calling for the harshest sentence for her attackers “as part of a concerted campaign to end this scourge in our society”.
“The whole nation is outraged at this extreme violation and destruction of a young human life. This act is shocking, cruel and most inhumane. It has no place in our country. We must never allow ourselves to get used to these acts of base criminality to our women and children,” Zuma said.
South Africans, appalled by the growing number of rape cases, have called for large-scale demonstrations like those seen in India following the gang rape and murder of a student in New Delhi.
Anene was raped and left for dead during the early hours of Saturday by a group of men who lured her away when she was out with friends.
Two men, one her ex-boyfriend, have been arrested.
Provincial police spokesman Frederick van Wyk confirmed yesterday that a second suspect, a 21-year-old from Grabouw, had been arrested on Wednesday night.
“He will appear in the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court once he has been charged with rape and murder. The investigation is ongoing and more arrests are imminent,” Van Wyk said.
Anene named her 22-year-old ex-boyfriend, Jonathan Davids as one of her attackers before she died on Saturday. He appeared in court on Tuesday and the case was postponed to Tuesday.
Police officers were working hard to arrest the others responsible for Anene’s rape and death, said deputy provincial commissioner Peter Jacobs.
“This is a very complex investigation and we are looking for a big group of people. There has been some progress in the investigation.
“It was a horrible, brutal murder and requires dedicated attention from the provincial office to effect arrests. This is violence at the most gruesome level and we need to root out this level of violence and put a stop to it,” Jacobs said.
Kathleen Dey, director of Rape Crisis, said the government had to direct resources toward supporting rape victims and their families, which would lead to convictions.
“We are calling for victim empowerment legislation, that will direct resources to the victims of violent crime.”
The Medical Research Council’s Rachel Jewkes said this kind of national outrage was necessary for action to be taken.
“I’m really pleased that it has generated a huge level of outrage. We
need to recognise that women are gang-raped in South Africa every day in substantial numbers, and die every day.”
Jewkes said families needed to change the way boys were socialised to ensure they did not think of women as inferior or possessions.
“It is these ideas that underscore the idea of rape. We need to build a society where the worst thing that could happen to a family is that their son is a rapist. We need to take this on as a societal issue.”
Cosatu, and some of its affiliated unions, issued statements calling for a reaction similar to that shown by Indians to the recent gang rape in New Delhi.
“We must show the world that South Africans are no less angry at such crimes and make an equally loud statement of disgust, and protest in the streets.
“We need to unite as a nation to make criminals scared of society’s outrage when such acts are perpetrated.
“Cosatu appeals to all South Africans to demonstrate at the court when the accused suspects appear,” said Cosatu national spokesman Patrick Craven.
National Institute for Crime Prevention and the Reintegration of Offenders (Nicro) deputy chief executive Celia Dawson said: “The torture that she underwent through the deliberate and shattering mutilation to her defenceless young body, defies understanding.
“We know that the act of mutilation is one that evidences extreme anger, anger beyond control, and gang rape is often an expression of ‘punishment’.”
She said the introduction of castration or the death penalty would not prevent these crimes.
The ANC Women’s League said, “The outrage of South Africans over the extremely brutal rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen (is) completely justified.
“The Women’s League shares in our nation’s anguish. The sad fact of the matter is: this is not an isolated incident.
“It is encouraging to see so many South Africans, men and women, young and old, come out in anger and say ‘enough is enough’.”
The league called on the government, NGOs, media and civil society to “take action around this social scourge.”