STAFF REPORTER AND Sapa
The violent nature of crime in South Africa should act as a wake-up call, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Briefing reporters at Parliament, Mthethwa condemned the rape and brutal murder of 17-year- old Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp on February 1.
Booysen’s attackers raped her before disembowelling her, causing her to die of her injuries.
“Just take this very particular case where a person is mutilated and killed… it tells you… we need to be talking to our own conscience as a nation, as to what is it that we are doing to our young,” said Mthethwa. He described the rape and murder of young girls and women as “a monster” that should be confronted by all South Africans.
People should not be in denial that the rape, abuse, and murder of girls and women was a societal problem. “Even those who are abusers, the bulk of them are young people themselves, our youth, our kids… it’s no use to point (a) finger at any one individual.”
It was difficult for law enforcement officers to police cases of rape, the minister said. “Our research keeps on pointing to the fact that this happens among acquaintances, not strangers.
“It’s people you know, your next-door neighbour, your buddy, someone who’s your relative and so on.”
Mthethwa said police had little power to prevent violent crimes without community involvement.
“Police need assistance… from the family unit first and foremost, because if your under-age child is not at home at 8pm, at 10pm, or your child is busy in cyberspace, you don’t even know who your child is interacting with. The responsibility is with all of us as a society, that humanity of ours, that ubuntu of ours, is very much needed in this time.”
Meanwhile, the police ministry has responded to Yusuf Abramjee’s column “We can all do something about rape...” in yesterday’s Pretoria News.
Priority has been placed on fighting crime against women, children and the elderly, the police said.
In particular, the response is directed at Abramjee’s calls to bring back specialised police units dealing with violent sexual crimes; training officers to deal with such crimes, and special facilities for victims – all covered by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units.
With regard to training:
The guide is designed to inform the public, rape survivors and their families of where to go in the event of rape. The drafter of the guide, Meleney Kriel of the Viva Foundation, has pointed out that she did not intend to cast aspersions on the police’s response to rape.
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