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Reeva would be alive ‘if no gun’: Xingwana

Crime & Courts

Pretoria - Reeva Steenkamp would not have died on Valentine's Day if Oscar Pistorius had not kept a gun in his home, Women Minister Lulu Xingwana said on Tuesday.

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Minister of Women, Children and People with Disability Lulu Xingwana. File photo: Sizwe Ndingane

“If there was no gun in the Pistorius home, Reeva Steenkamp would still be alive,” Xingwana told reporters in Pretoria.

“I was disappointed Oscar (Pistorius) got bail but I respect the decision of the court.”

The minister welcomed Pistorius's strict bail conditions, as well as the appointment of a new investigators in the case.

“Domestic violence is exacerbated by easy access to guns. We are making a call for stricter gun control,” she said.

“As a country we need to wage a sustained and effective campaign against the availability of guns in our homes and streets.”

Xingwana said women were three times more likely to die violently if a firearm was kept in the home.

The continuing spate of violence and rape against women in South Africa was a matter of grave concern and a scourge which condemned women and children to a life of fear.

“It prevents them from becoming productive members of society,” she said.

The minister welcomed the re-establishment of sexual offences courts as they would expedite the prosecution of offenders, though she did not know the exact timetable, that being a matter for the justice department.

Asked whether chemical castration was a possible deterrent to rapists, Xingwana said you could not correct a crime with a crime.

“We have a Constitution which has a Bill of Rights. For me to put a chemical in your body, you have to agree. If you do not agree, that is a crime.”

The minister said government had established the National Council Against Gender-Based Violence.

The council would meet four times a year and provide strategic leadership, co-ordination and monitoring against gender-based violence.

They would focus on prevention, response, support, co-ordination and communication, and advocacy, awareness-raising and social campaigns to end gender-based violence.

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was the council's patron.

The minister said allegations of the misappropriation of funds within her department were being investigated, with three people - a driver, director and chief director - dismissed thus far. - Sapa

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