Academics asked to join battle against sex crimes

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IOL news jan 23  ca  Dan Plato INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS File photo: Western Cape MEC for Community Safety Dan Plato

Cape Town - Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato will call on academics and gender rights organisations to make presentations to his department to try to combat the sexual abuse of women and children.

This follows the brutal rape and murder of Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp.

Plato met MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz, provincial police commissioner Arno Lamoer and other government officials on Thursday.

Plato said academics would have a great influence on the new plans, and local organisations would act as the “voice of the community”.

He said: “I will be engaging with academics, NGOs and communities to get any input, even the smallest. I will soon be visiting communities to engage on this.”

Plato renewed the call for the public to report crimes.

“Every police precinct in the Western Cape has a victim support room, totalling 149 in the province, where victims of rape can report crimes and give their statements in a safe and victim-friendly environment.

“Victim-support volunteers, who have been trained through a joint effort of Community Safety, Social Development and the SAPS, help the victim through the police reporting process.

“Social workers are also available to provide counselling for rape victims and their families and can be contacted by visiting any local Social Development office,” Plato said.

Meanwhile, Cosatu has organised a mass rally on Sunday at which civil organisations will publicly voice their outrage about sexual crimes against women and children.

Cosatu’s Tony Ehrenreich said they were establishing a special committee to help smaller gender organisations in affected communities.

“We will, as much as possible, rally and fight for harsh sentences.

“We will do our best to bring an end to the abuse of women. We owe it to Anene and the many women raped on a daily basis,” Ehrenreich said.

“The attack on the women and children of our nation is a threat to all of us. Every four minutes, a person is raped in South Africa.

“Anene Booysen’s body was found mutilated and she was left for dead. This is a mournful reminder of the violation of our women and the destruction of our (humaneness).”

Bernadette Muthien, director at Engender 0 a gender equity organisation - said rape would become uncontrollable if not tackled soon.

“The struggles in our communities are endless. Our role as parents is the biggest influence on what our children will become. Home is where our children learn to love, be compassionate and tolerant,” she said.

More than 2 000 people were expected to join the rally.

Cape Argus

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