ID picture of Anene Booysen

Cape Town - Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz has been criticised for comments he made about young people staying safe in the early hours.

He had been speaking out against the alleged rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen.

EyeWitnessNews quoted Fritz as having said: “We want to call on our young men and women to please ensure they don’t get into situations at 3am in the morning, where they place themselves in danger.

“We don’t mean to say to people they can’t walk around at 3am but these are very different and difficult times. Please ensure that you are safe and go with people you can trust, who won’t hurt you.”

NGO Sonke Gender Justice said it was appalled by the comment.

“Anene knew at least one of her killers, just as most women who are victims or survivors of sexual violence do. Such comments perpetuate the false notion that victims are to be blamed. Fritz’s comments cannot go unchallenged and we urge him to retract them immediately,” the organisation said.

Cherith Sanger, an attorney at Sonke Gender Justice, said: “Until women and girls can walk the streets of our country without fear of assault, no matter what time of day or night, our country will not know peace.”

Sonke Gender Justice’s Mbuyiselo Botha said he had been outraged on hearing Fritz’s comments.

“Even to suggest that by walking around you could expect to be raped is grossly insensitive. It is blind to the violence that we face every day.”

Kathleen Dey, director of NGO Rape Crisis, took a different tack. She said Fritz had probably been speaking as a parent in an emotional situation. “He’s echoing the national anxiety of every parent we know. The streets are not safe. He’s not blaming the victim.”

Cape Times