Letter: Unit helping to cut crime
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The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit is back on the beat and making a huge impact, says Siphiwe Mahlangu.
Pretoria - The annual 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, which starts this week, raises awareness of violence against women and children. This while the country reels under a series of incidents of gross violation of the rights of women and children.
Mostly, they are molested by people they thought they could trust, including their families and neighbours.
Therefore, we should remember that it is our responsibility to respect women, protect children and break the silence by reporting abusive conduct being perpetrated against the most vulnerable.
Three years ago, the SAPS re-established the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit. It is back on the beat and making a huge impact on thwarting the actions of people aiming to commit crimes against women and children.
The unit’s focal point is to protect the rights and dignity of women and children by going beyond arrest and securing hefty sentences for perpetrators.
It hopes this will serve as a deterrent to those who want to commit such crimes.
The FCS is ensuring that more perpetrators are arrested and convicted and that they serve lengthy imprisonment sentences.
This is evidenced by the 299 life sentences that were secured in 2010/11, followed by 389 in 2011/12 and 499 in the 2012/13 financial year. Those sentenced included:
* Johannes Kana, who got two life sentences for the rape and murder of Anene Booysen.
* Avela Tuswa, who is serving life imprisonment for raping an 82-year-old woman in KwaZulu-Natal.
* Mlungisi Raphael Thusi: four life sentences.
* Lawrence Gagu: three life sentences.
* Moses Hungwe: 11 life sentences.
* David Randitsheni: 16 life sentences and 220 years’ imprisonment.
* Thozamile Taki: 13 life sentences and 208 years’ imprisonment.
* George Jabu Khanye: five life sentences plus 85 years’ imprisonment.
* Mlungisi “Birthday Rapist” Mtshali: 39 life sentences plus 212 years in prison.
All these crime perpetrators are languishing in prison because of their malicious behaviour and the agony they have deliberately inflicted on innocent women and children.
The authorities expect they will have more success in fighting lawlessness and the crimes committed against women and children, as the sexual offences courts are expected to be operational soon.
If approved, the proposed Criminal Law (Forensic Procedure) Amendment Bill, also known as the DNA Bill, will see more conviction rates and unsolved serious crimes being reopened through the establishment of a central database.
The DNA Bill will enable the training of prosecutors and judicial officers on how to deal with and manage the new evidence once the country sets up its first national DNA database.
It will also allow the collection of DNA samples of criminals who have already been sentenced to be compared against samples of unsolved cases.
All these efforts indicate the earnestness of the government in turning the tide against crime.
Hence, civil society should also adopt a firm approach and attitude towards criminality through reporting criminals – as they did when they aided police to rearrest multi-rape suspect and escape artist Boas Jacob Kgatlhane, who faces more than 10 charges of rape.
The Letlhabile community has set a palpable example which signifies that we can make a difference if we fortify partnership with law enforcers to ensure that justice prevails and tormentors are effaced from our vicinities.