Durban - A 14-year-old girl was found raped and murdered near Jozini in Maputaland at the weekend.

Kwazulu-Natal MEC for Social Development Weziwe Thusi called the perpetrator “a monster” and said he hoped police would leave no stone unturned in ensuring that he was arrested.

Department spokeswoman Ncumisa Fandesi said the girl had disappeared on her way to school last Thursday. Members of the community found her body in a forest near her home.

News of the brutal attack came just days after 17-year-old Anene Booysen was raped and murdered in Bredasdorp. She was buried on Saturday.

Jackie Branfield, the founder of Operation BobbiBear, a group that assists child victims of sex abuse, said on Monday that authorities were not doing enough to deter sexual offenders.

“We have found that the physical violence accompanying sexual abuse has escalated recently,” said Branfield. “This is because the perpetrators are not afraid of the law.”

She also condemned a ruling made by Judge Pierre Rabie in the Pretoria High Court last month. Judge Rabie ruled that two sections of the Sexual Offences Act that criminalised consensual sexual activity between children over 12 and under 16 were invalid.

Branfield said it was easy for an older child to “convince” a younger one that sexual activity between them had been consensual, even when it had not.

Vanessa Burger, of the Umbilo Action Group, said “on paper” South Africa had good laws protecting women from rape, but they were not applied.

“The government has to make the criminal system work for victims,” said Burger. She also said men had to be taught that rape was “not okay”.

“It seems as though rape has become socially acceptable to many men,” said Burger.

The group would protest against violence against women at the top of Deodar Road, in Umbilo, between 1pm and 2pm every day until Thursday.

“We want the government to allocate sufficient resources to roll out national education programmes to teach men that rape is not okay,” said Burger.

Police spokesman Vincent Mdunge said no arrests had been made in the Jozini murder investigation.

The Mercury