Cape Argus - The vicious rape and murder of Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen has cast a spotlight on a spate of violent sex crimes in the town in recent years.
Seventeen-year-old Anene was raped and mutilated. She was found alive at a construction site outside the Overberg town early on Saturday morning. A few hours later she succumbed to her injuries in Tygerberg Hospital.
Before she died she named one of her attackers. Two men were arrested this week on rape and murder charges, and they will appear in court next week. Police say they are hunting more suspects.
Bredasdorp residents spoke this week about increased violence against women and children, and this was confirmed by official crime statistics presented by a group of MPs yesterday, showing a spike in sex crimes in the Bredasdorp area over the last two years.The numbers were “alarming”, said Dorothy Ramodibe, chairwoman of the portfolio committee on women, children and people with disabilities, in a statement condemning the rape and murder of Anene.
Reported sex crimes in Bredasdorp had increased between the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 financial period, she said.
Quoting police figures, she said the number of murders reported in the town increased from four to 11, and sex offences had increased from 47 to 60 in the period.
“These alarming statistics point to a dire need for a relook of the survival and development of the nation’s children in a safe environment conducive for their growth,” said Ramodibe.
Community members were planning to march in Bredasdorp today in memory of Anene and in protest against violence aimed at women and children.
A wreath-laying ceremony was to be held at the location where Anene was found on Saturday morning.
Meanwhile, Cosatu’s Western Cape office has joined President Jacob Zuma, the DA and other organisations in expressing outrage over Anene’s death. The union federation called for a picket outside the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court when the two suspects appear next week.
“When a very similar incident occurred in India recently, there was a massive outbreak of protest and mass demonstrations in the streets; it was a big story around the world,” said Tony Ehrenreich, Cosatu’s provincial secretary.
“We have to 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.”
Condemning Anene’s rape and murder, Zuma said: “The whole nation is outraged by this extreme violation and destruction of a young human life.”
Professor Rachel Jewkes, director of the Medical Research Council’s gender and health unit, said despite promises of a zero-tolerance stance on rape, there was no evidence that there had been any impact.
She said rape had become a frighteningly normal part of society. According to research her unit had conducted in the Eastern Cape, Kwazulu-Natal and Gauteng, between 25 percent and 33 percent of men had raped someone.
Jewkes said part of the problem was that the government trivialised rape.
“We are seen as the rape capital by the rest of the world… We might not be the worst, but we are a middle-income country and it is inexcusable,” said Jewkes.
She added that leaders should step up, as Zuma had done, and make it clear that rape would not be tolerated.
On Thursday, DA MPs visited Anene’s family in Bredasdorp to pay their respects.
The party has pledged to do everything it can to support the family - including assisting with arrangements for the funeral tomorrow.
* Additional reporting by Kieran Legg