Johannesburg - The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) has urged the government to speedily enact a Femicide Act as promised by President Cyril Ramaphosa during a summit on gender-based violence (GBV) last year and to upgrade the current system of sexual offences courts to fully fledged specialised high courts that will deal speedily and effectively with cases.
In a statement issued at the start of 16 days of activism on violence against women and children on Monday, Fedusa said the country urgently needed both the promised new law and a network of regional institutions manned by specialised gender violence judicial officers as the current system of low key sexual offences courts introduced in 2013 had failed to make a dent in the heavy back log of GBV cases.
"Such specialised courts should see the state not only routinely opposing bail and parole applications for perpetrators of rape and murder against women and children; but also imposing harsher sentences," it said.
The recent case in which the Western Cape high court timeously sentenced Post Office worker Luyanda Botha to three life sentences for raping and killing University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana should serve as a national gold standard, Fedusa added.
The Fedusa statement came as South Africa reeled from the murder of another tertiary student in Limpopo who was found dead in a pool of blood at the weekend after being stabbed multiple times by an assailant who broke into the room she rented while attending college. Reports said the 21-year-old had also been raped.