Call for National Register for Sex Offenders to be made public
Pretoria - As Gauteng police investigate the circumstances surrounding the alleged rape of a two-year-old child under isolation for Covid-19 at a local hospital, experts call for the National Register for Sex Offenders to be made public knowledge.
Daleen Gouws, the spokesperson for Action Society, said it was unacceptable for a child to be placed under the protection of the state and still be vulnerable to criminals lurking in the shadows.
Gouws said it was time the president and other stakeholders took radical action to finally put an end to the scourge of violence being perpetrated against women and children.
One way to do this, Gouws said was by making the National Register for Sex Offenders public information.
She said by making the National Register for Sex Offenders public, South African civilians would finally be able to outwit those criminals who are protected by the law.
“Like this girl’s mother, we assume that our loved ones are surrounded by people that are "safe", but are they? We ought to know if we can truly trust the people we are forced to leave our children with.
"As long as the offender's list is kept confidential, numerous offenders still target vulnerable people in our society.”
According to reports the aunt of the 2-year-old was referred to the Dr George Mukhari Academic Hospital in Pretoria on June 15, after the child exhibited signs that she was struggling to breathe.
Upon arrival staff at the hospital they allegedly told the mother to go home as the child may have the coronavirus and would need to be isolated.
However upon being discharged from the hospital the following day the mother realised that her child was not her normal self and discovered she had been sexually assaulted.
Efforts to report the incident to the relevant authorities over two weeks also came to nought as the mother was reportedly sent from one place to the next without any assistance.
The Head of the Institute for Gender Studies at Unisa, Professor Nokuthula Mazibuko, said making the national offenders list public was long overdue taking into account that South Africa was regarded as the "rape capital" of the world.
Mazibuko said assuming that women and children are safe from harm are long gone and it was time the public be equipped.
“We need to have a database that is accessible to the public to see the number of offenders in the area. There would be a number of challenges in letting (the information) out but there is no way we can sit by as we have.”
“Yesterday it was a 2-year-old and tomorrow it could be a 2-month old or elderly grandmother.
"We can’t just do nothing about this.”