That women and children are not safe in SA is a travesty of everything that our forefathers sacrificed their lives for
The president’s announcement this week of a new amendment bill to our existing sex crime laws sounds like a timely boost to a scourge that deservedly shrouds us in global shame as much as corruption, corporate collusion and state capture do.
The fact that women and children are not safe at any time in this country is a travesty of everything that our founding fathers – and mothers – sacrificed their lives for in the struggle against Apartheid. It’s particularly galling in this, the 26th year since Nelson Mandela voted for the very first time in his life.
Women are raped and murdered. Children are preyed upon, often by those meant to protect them. It is a catastrophic situation that seems to get worse with every passing month – not even the strictest lockdown in the world could staunch the wave of depredation.
On the surface then, this amendment seems like a great step in the right direction.
Sadly, as the experts tell us today, nothing could be further from the truth. At best it’s a Band-Aid, at worst it’s an empty headline. The net result is the same; no deterrent, but a very real incentive for mob justice. The two are inextricably linked by the dysfunction of our justice system.
We don’t need more laws, Mr President, we need the ones we have applied. That means the police, the prosecutors and the prison warders have to do their jobs – sex offenders have to be found, tried and jailed. We can’t afford any more dockets going missing, any more criminals being released because of overcrowding or COVID 19.
But most of all, when it comes to our children, the community has to step up; because it takes a village to raise, protect and nurture a child. And the truth is, we haven’t been doing that either.