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Johannesburg - Men must help to end rapes such as that of Anine Booysen, of Bredasdorp in the Western Cape, the African National Congress said on Thursday.
“Rape cannot be a women's issue alone... Men also need to play a role in fighting patriarchy in order to achieve the key pillar of true gender equality as defined in the ANC constitution,” said ANC spokesperson Keith Khoza.
“The voice of men needs to be loud and clear and we need real men to join our sisters in the ANC Women's League to support the victims of rape.”
Khoza said no one should ever suffer the brutality inflicted on Booysen.
The 17-year-old was found by security guards at a construction site in Bredasdorp at the weekend. She had been gang-raped and mutilated, and later died of her injuries in hospital.
Sisonke Msimang, the chairperson of Sonke Gender Justice Network, expressed shock and outrage at the rape.
“The current levels of violence against women in South Africa are a national crisis; typical responses are no longer adequate,” she said.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Women, Children and People with Disabilities said sex crimes in Bredasdorp had drastically increased over a two-year period.
Committee chairperson Dorothy Ramodibe said the number of sex crimes reported in Bredasdorp, in the Southern Cape, had increased between the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 financial periods.
Quoting police figures, she said the number of murders reported in Bredasdorp increased from four to 11, and that sexual crimes increased from 47 to 60 in the period.
“These alarming statistics point to a dire need for a re-look of the survival and development of the nation's children in a safe environment conducive for their growth,” she said.
“The inhumane incident highlights the magnitude of the problem that South Africa is facing regarding rape and sex-related crimes.”
The rape has drawn widespread condemnation, including from President Jacob Zuma.
“Impose the harshest sentences on such crimes, as part of a concerted campaign to end this scourge in our society,” Zuma said in a statement, describing the crime as “shocking”, “cruel”, and “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.”
The Democratic Alliance described the attack as one of the most gruesome acts of sexual violence in the province.
“The DA is doing everything it can to support the family of the victim and will continue to do so this, including the arrangement of the funeral next week Saturday,” said spokesperson Liza Albrecht.
The Progressive Women's Movement of South Africa expressed shock at the number of women being raped in the country.
It praised Booysen for identifying one of her attackers before she died in hospital.
Booysen's 22-year-old ex-boyfriend has been arrested in connection with the crime. He appeared in the Bredasdorp Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of rape and murder, and will appear again on Tuesday.
A second man, aged 21, was arrested in Bredasdorp on Wednesday night.
The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union praised the police's swift action.
The African National Congress Women's League said it would call for a national commission of inquiry into gender-based violence, following the attack.
Congress of the People MP Beryl Ferguson said South Africa had become the rape capital of the world.
The South Africa Municipal Workers' Union said more had to be done to ensure that all rapists were prosecuted.
“What is needed is a dramatic change of mindset and behaviour. A massive campaign needs to be launched to challenge the patriarchal view of our society,” said spokesperson Tahir Sema.
The Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) expressed outrage and vowed to “closely monitor” the court proceedings. - Sapa