Cape Town - The DA has called for a national dialogue on rape to raise awareness and provide broader insight and possible solutions to the scourge.
During a protest at Parliament yesterday, the party’s parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, said she would soon approach other political parties to discuss “what we can do to solve the problem of rape”.
Mazibuko, accompanied by DA leader and Western Cape Premier Helen Zille and Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz, among others, said that, while such debate was a “little too late” for Anene Booysen - the 17-year-old who was gang-raped and murdered last week in Bredasdorp in the southern Cape - it was not so for many other women who risked being raped on a daily basis.
She said statistics showing a woman was raped every four minutes were horrifying.
“We don’t want to live in a society where women can expect to be raped any time… that is simply not acceptable. I am calling for Parliament to facilitate public hearings to debate the issue. Parliament should not only be a place of debate and where we write laws, but it should also bring solutions to societal problems.
“We can even summon people and experts to explain why there is such a scourge in our society,” she said.
Mazibuko was hoping to have the debate “as soon as possible… before the elections cycle begins”.
Booysen’s brutal killing has prompted national outrage, with President Jacob Zuma calling on the courts to “impose the harshest sentences on such crimes, 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.
Zille said that, while South Africa’s rape statistics were shocking, very few rapes were reported, and even fewer resulted in the conviction of a perpetrator.
“Currently there’s a terrible adage that perpetrators can (rape) and can get away with it,” she said.
She said the DA supported the return of sexual offences courts, as this could result in more convictions.
Nikki Botha of Cape Town, one of the protesters at Parliament yesterday, said one victim raped made a “victim of all of us”, and that it was time society stood together to denounce rape.