KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu

Durban - All elected public officials and executive council members must publicly take a stand against rape and all forms of sexual abuse against women and children, KwaZulu-Natal premier Senzo Mchunu said on Tuesday.

“It is my view that leaders of government at all levels are not vocal enough in fighting rape. And to a large extent elected leaders are not providing strong leadership when it comes to eradicating this problem from our society,” he said in a statement.

“Rape is the worst form of exploitation of a human being and this act should solicit an overwhelming rejecting from all of us as elected representatives of our people.”

The premier's statement followed an Empangeni man earlier on Tuesday being sentenced to 20 years in prison by the Empangeni Regional Court for raping a teenager in 2012.

Skhosiphi Shange, 51, was convicted of raping a 14-year-old girl. He had asked her to accompany him to the shop and while walking there, she was forced into a bush and raped.

Shange gave her R20 and told her not to tell anyone.

The girl told the teachers and her mother about the incident and a case was opened with police.

The man was arrested, and later found guilty.

Mchunu said at a recent two-day workshop, he called on the social development department to develop a plan which would assist government to profile all rape cases in the province.

“Importantly, we need to profile all rapists and visit their families so that we can all understand their upbringing. We need a list of all these people and this should be available for all to see and scrutinise,” the premier said.

“We cannot hope to solve this problem if we do not understand what goes into the mind of a rapist and what influences such a person to do such a barbaric thing.”

He said all mayors and councillors across all municipalities in KwaZulu-Natal should be actively involved in the fight against rape.

“It cannot be correct that families of rape victims are not even visited by elected representatives when their loved ones have been exploited.,” Mchunu said.

“Elected representatives who were put into office by the people must stand up and show a public display of disapproval of this sheer brutality.”

Traditional and religious leaders must also emphasise the values of respect and caring for a fellow human being. - Sapa