Church leaders react after gang-rape

Johannesburg - The gang-rape of a 17-year-old Soweto girl was outrageous and despicable, and should be condemned outright by society, the South African Council of Churches (SACC) said on Wednesday.

“We are angry and worried that this society continues to give birth to people who have no regard for the sacredness of human life as God’s gift,” said its general secretary, Reverend Mautji Pataki.

The girl, who went missing on March 21, was video-recorded being gang-raped last week and was found being held captive in a house on Wednesday.

A man at the house and five men and two youths matching the descriptions of the suspects in the video have since been arrested.

“How else and what more should we say about these people in our society whose lifestyle is shaped by violence and brutality - people who trample upon others’ human dignity, rights and freedom to the extent of making a mockery of our constitutional liberties?” asked Pataki.

“We call upon the church community in Soweto and all over the country to go on an offensive and refuse criminality a space within society,” he said.

He urged them to take to the streets on Freedom Day, next Friday, in solidarity with those whose freedoms were denied, and to organise at the local level.

“Until prayer dominates our lifestyle, it will be hard to clean our streets of people who are bent on making it difficult for others to enjoy their freedoms and liberties.” - Sapa