Johannesburg - South Africa may be faced with an “accelerating rape crisis” but the suggestion that the country is the “rape capital” of the world is incorrect.
This is according to President Jacob Zuma, who said that the issue of women and children had always been a priority for the government, particularly crimes against women and children.
“Cabinet ministers and their departments, particularly the JCPS (justice, crime prevention and security) cabinet cluster, are working tirelessly to implement initiatives to deal with the crime of rape,” said Zuma in a written parliamentary reply released on Wednesday.
Zuma was responding to Cope MP Thozamile Botha, who had asked the president if he had been informed that last year
Interpol had named South Africa as the “world’s rape capital” and that a certain study had found that one in four South African men had admitted to raping a woman.
Botha also asked Zuma whether he had instructed his cabinet to implement “forceful” measures to bring this “shameful crisis” under control.
“The suggestion that South Africa is the rape capital of the world is incorrect.
“The Interpol secretariat general in France has indicated to the Interpol desk in South Africa that they have no record of the phrase ‘rape capital of the world’ in their publications,” said Zuma.
He said a number of initiatives had been taken to address the “accelerating rape crisis in the country”.
These included the re-establishment of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units.
“The units were increased from 66 units to 176 units and from 1 100 personnel to 2 528 personnel in total.
“These 176 FCS units have been well resourced to enhance the effectiveness of the fight against crimes against women and children.
Since the re-establishment of the FCS units in the past three years, FCS investigations had managed to secure more than 1 100 life sentences for rape, said Zuma.
With all the challenges facing the national operation of the register for sexual offenders, there had been notable progress.
“The number of registered convicted sex offenders has increased from 2 792 names that appeared on the register as at March 31, 2013 to 11 418 names as at October 31, 2013. In that month alone, 3 384 sex offenders were successfully registered,” he said.
Zuma’s response follows the arrest of a man for the brutal rape of a six-week-old baby in the Northern Cape.