NGOs call for moment of silence

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CAPE ARGUS

One of Cape Towns leading independent schools St Cyprians were at a protest outside St George's Cathedral on Wednesday. Photo: Henk Kruger

Cape Town - Non-governmental bodies have urged President Jacob Zuma to observe a minute of silence for rape victims before his state-of-the-nation speech on Thursday.

“This matter needs urgent attention. We appeal to President Zuma to observe a minute of silence for the victims of rape and other forms of violence,” Sonke Gender Justice Network representative Micheline Muzaneza said.

The non-governmental organisations, religious groups and the Congress of SA Trade Unions met in Johannesburg to devise a programme of action against rape and violence.

Section27 representative Thabang Pooe said her organisation was developing guidelines for young rape victims. The guidelines were being developed together with Lawyers Against Abuse, an organisation that provides legal services to victims of gender-based violence.

“We are concerned over the rape of pupils, especially where a teacher is the alleged perpetrator. The guidelines on how to handle such incidents would help education authorities and social workers alike.”

Cosatu secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi said the brutality and violent nature of sexual assaults across the country was worrying.

“The violent nature of our society is of great concern... this is not only about rape, but the brutality and extreme violence that accompanies the crime.”

He appealed to the organisations to fight rape and violence with one voice.

Zuma's spokesman Mac Maharaj said the president's door was always open for anyone to make input.

“If the organisations want President Zuma to observe a moment of silence for rape victims, they know the channels they have to follow.” - Sapa


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