'We are more at risk of being raped and killed than contracting Covid-19'
Cape Town – The leadership of One Billion Rising South Africa, who picketed at the Bellville Magistrate's Court on Monday at the murder trial of Altecia Kortje and her 7-year-old daughter, do not take the pleas of President Cyril Ramaphosa seriously for the surge in gender-based murders to end.
They feel if he did, he would have listened to the impassioned pleas of Western Cape activists such as Lucinda Evans and Caroline Peters, among others, to not lift the ban on the sale of alcohol from June 1 under lockdown level 3.
"Entjies (cigarettes) are policed but not the safety and protection of women and children in this country," said Evans.
She said the authorities' "sorry" and condemnation of the crimes committed against women and children mean nothing, "because women are stabbed, skopped (kicked), hung on trees while pregnant and assaulted by their drunk partners".
"In South Africa, we are more at risk of being raped and killed than contracting Covid-19. We have a government who does not care about our lives, we have a government who is not able to protect our bodies.
"We have a government that unbans alcohol. This government needs to go."
The 28-year-old accused, Kyle Ryan Smith, the nephew of alleged Sexy Boys gang boss Jerome “Donkie” Booysen, was arrested on Friday after the bodies of his estranged girlfriend Altecia, 27, and their daughter, Raynecia Kortje, were found inside his family’s home in Belhar.
His trial was postponed to 22 July for a bail application at the Bellville Magistrate's Court. The State will oppose the bail application.
Commenting on the rising number of women and children who have been being killed since the start of the month, Latifa Jacobs, of One Billion Rising SA, said: "We are at this stage where we have no words. Everything that we have wanted to speak about has been said, so I am wondering that if we go completely silent, if the government will actually notice.
"Our president did not hear our pleas to not lift the ban on liquor. We have had quite a lot of domestic violence cases since the beginning of Covid, but those numbers have doubled if not tripled.
"It's not just about the domestic violence, but also the number of road accidents since the lifting of the ban on alcohol. We are operating soup kitchens all over the Western Cape and in the first month when the liquor ban was on, people spent their money on food.
"This month it was sad to see there are more children in the queues. When you ask the kids, 'where are your parents today', because normally the parents come with, they say, 'no, they are drunk at home'.
"It's not just about them being drunk at home but the domestic violence that follows. Those children have to endure all sorts of violence and a lot of the time both parents are drinking. The wife is drinking because she can't take all the pain anymore because it's her way of coping.
"I am at a loss for words, I am blown away. If I look at this case from Belhar, the victim was in an abusive relationship on and off for 12 years.
"She was a hard-working mother who worked at I&J to provide for her children. The accused is a drug addict and when he came to fetch the children, she wanted assistance from SAPS.
"But Delft SAPS said they are not operational in Belhar, which just blew my mind. I don't know how they can tell you they can't work in Belhar.
"They could at least have called Belhar police station for assistance, but they did nothing. She went to fetch her children and she got the baby of nine months, but he didn't want to give her the children of seven years.
"If SAPS had assisted her, she would still have been alive and not been alone with him and her child.
"Her parents went to report her as missing and SAPS informed them that they must come back today (June 15). If they had gone on that Tuesday or Wednesday night, they could have found her alive.
"SAPS have failed this woman over and over again. She also went to apply for a protection order against him, but they informed her she must come back in September because they are not doing new cases.
"Those who have witnessed her abuse have also failed her enormously. The carnage of our women is not on SAPS' priority list."IOL