Pretoria - The violent nature of crime in South Africa should act as a wake-up call, says Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.
Briefing reporters at Parliament, Mthethwa condemned the rape and brutal murder of 17-year- old Anene Booysen in Bredasdorp on February 1.
He said police had little power to prevent violent crimes without community involvement.
“Police need assistance… from the family unit first and foremost, because if your under-age child is not at home at 8pm, at 10pm, or your child is busy in cyberspace, you don’t even know who your child is interacting with.
“The responsibility is with all of us as a society, that humanity of ours, that ubuntu of ours, is very much needed in this time,” Mthethwa said.
He described the rape and murder of young girls and women as “a monster” that should be confronted by all South Africans.
“Just take this very particular case (of Booysen) where a person is mutilated and killed… it tells you… we need to be talking to our own conscience as a nation, as to what is it that we are doing to our young,” said Mthethwa.
People should not be in denial that the rape, abuse, and murder of girls and women was a societal problem.
“Even those who are abusers, the bulk of them are young people themselves, our youth, our kids… it’s no use to point (a) finger at any one individual.”
It was difficult for law enforcement officers to police cases of rape, the minister said. “Our research keeps on pointing to the fact that this happens among acquaintances, not strangers.
“It’s people you know, your next-door neighbour, your buddy, someone who’s your relative and so on.”
Meanwhile, the police ministry has responded to Yusuf Abramjee’s column “We can all do something about rape... ” in Tuesday’s Pretoria News.
Priority has been placed on fighting crime against women, children and the elderly, the police said.
In particular, the response is directed at Abramjee’s calls to bring back specialised police units dealing with violent sexual crimes; training officers to deal with such crimes, and special facilities for victims - all covered by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) units.
- FCS units were announced by Mthethwa when he was given the police portfolio. The reintroduction process started in 2011 and was completed in June last year.
- There are 2 155 detectives in 176 SAPS clusters in all nine provinces. Previously, the FCS units had only 1 864 detectives.
- An extra R49.5 million was allocated to all provinces to capacitate the FCS units with resources.
- Last year, Mthethwa initiated a national interaction and monitoring programme. He visited all nine provinces, interacting with FCS officers, psychologists and cluster commanders with a view to understand some of the bottlenecks and challenges facing them.
- To date, FCS units have achieved more than 400 life sentences, with a conviction rate of 73 percent for crimes against women above 18 years old and 70.04 percent for crimes against children under 18.
With regard to training:
- By the end of March last year, 1 527 members had undergone and passed psychometric testing and 1 727 were trained in detective work.
- A total of 17 314 out of 21 100 detectives are trained in detective-related courses. A further 2 161 detectives will be trained during the 2012/13 financial year.
- A total of 479 trained detectives who had been transferred to other SAPS divisions in the past have been placed back in the detective services environment.
- Six courses to train Detective Commanders resulted in 346 commanders being trained during the 2011/2012 financial year.
- Training of police officers includes Kids Internet Safety Alliance training, to help police fight child exploitation through cybercrime.
- In a report on the Rape Response Protocol in the Pretoria News on Monday, a headline suggested that the guide would “counter shoddy cop work”.
The guide is designed to inform the public, rape survivors and their families of where to go in the event of rape. The drafter of the guide, Meleney Kriel of the Viva Foundation, has pointed out that she did not intend to cast aspersions on the police’s response to rape.