Mr President, where is the apology to the women and families of this country?

By Lucinda Evans Time of article published Feb 12, 2020

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Mr President,

Where is the apology for the women and families of this country?

It’s Sunday night on the Cape Flats, our phones and WhatsApp are ablaze because we are awaiting news about Tazne. Mr President, let me tell you who Tazne van Wyk is. She’s an 8-year-old from Ravensmead who has parents and friends, she’s a child of the Cape Flats. Sy is een van ons kinders. On Friday afternoon, this little girl went missing from her home.

Services were called out on Saturday to start searching for her. It was said that Tazne was seen with a man who was recently paroled. He is a convicted rapist of a 2-year-old and allegedly spent 20 years in prison. He also impregnated his own child.

Pictured is Carmen Van Wyk, Tazne's mother, holding a picture of her missing daughter. Picture: David Ritchie/African News Agency(ANA)

It is 72 hours, and the police are still following leads and the sniffer dogs are out. Every person on the Cape Flats has circulated Tazne’s picture with that of the alleged perpetrator. I hope someone sent you a picture too, but Mr President, I’d like to ask you why - why have you allowed all this to happen?

I stood next you on a stage on September 5 last year in front of 20000 women, girls, gender non-conformant persons and LGTBQIPA+ persons, where you said, and I remember as clearly as I could smell the sweat beneath your cologne, that perpetrators of serious crimes would not be given bail, and rapist and murderers would not get parole. You shook my hand, looked at my orange T-shirt that said “Cape Town is a dangerous Place for a Woman and Child”, and I told you: “Don’t disappoint us.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses protesters outside Parliament amid outrage over gender-based violence. Armand Hough African News Agency (ANA)

You apologised to Uyenene’s family in the Eastern Cape - one of your SA Post Office officers raped this young woman and killed her. A government official who had to be screened and vetted, who was not even supposed to have been working there.

Where is the apology for Jessie Hess’ family, who was killed with her grandfather by a paroled person?

What about Michaela Williams, 10, killed by a paroled person whom the department of Correctional Services system even lost? Clarissa Lendoor from Stellenbosch, who was killed by a person out on bail for serious assault and attempted murder? What about Tazne van Wyk, possibly snatched by this paroled rapist? We don’t know what news will await us about her.

Mr President, what happened with honouring your 2019 speech to protect all women and LGTBQIPA+ persons?

You owe the women, the families, an apology. You failed us, Mr President. Your departments failed us - they didn’t act on your 2019 speech and we are paying with the blood of our children and women.

You owe an apology to every woman, gender non-formant person and child who has been raped since September 5 last year. I will be listening to your State of the Nation Address.

I am expecting your apology.

* Lucinda Evans is a gender rights activist.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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