Child activists call on sex offender Jeffrey Donson to step down and hand in his mayoral chain
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Cape Town – Multiple activists have called on Kannaland mayor Jeffrey Donson to step down as a result of his rape conviction.
Organisations spoke to Independent Media to weigh in on their views of his re-election following the November 1 local government elections.
Donson – a member of the Independent Civic Organisation of SA (Icosa) political party – is expected to make an announcement on his political future on Monday.
He was convicted of statutory rape and indecent assault while Kannaland mayor in 2008. His victim was 15-years old. After lodging an appeal in the Western Cape High Court, Donson’s five-year sentence was reduced to a wholly suspended term of imprisonment, correctional supervision, a R20 000 fine, and a rehabilitation programme for sex offenders.
He reclaimed his title when Icosa formed a coalition government with the ANC, but following a special meeting on Friday the ANC in the province announced that it will review its coalition agreement.
Childline’s national director Dumisile Nala says the re-election of Jeffrey Donson as Kannaland mayor sends the wrong message. “We should be taking a very firm stance against people convicted of sexual violence crimes. It is important that we stop, reflect and redirect our moral compass to ensure the protection of children and young people at all costs,” Nala said.
Children’s Institute Professor Shanaaz Matthews said the re-election shows how child rape, like other forms of violence, is normalised. She added that it is within this context that boundaries are blurred, sexual engagement with children and young people is tolerated and even normalised.
Commissioner for Children, Christina Nomdo, laments that Donson’s seat in power is a “damning indictment” of South Africa’s commitment to end gender-based violence and the promise to protect children.
As mayor he has power, influence and access to communities, which means families and their children, so this community is choosing to expose their children to potential sexual victimisation, said Dr Neziswa Titi of the Children’s Institute.