Karabo Mokoena

DURBAN – STATE President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday called on South Africans to unite against a spate of attacks and killings of young women, children as well as human trafficking taking place recently.

The death of Joburg student Karabo Mokoena, 22, and Cape Town toddler Courtney Pieters are among gruesome killings that have been reported in the media recently. Mokoena was found dead in a veld near Joburg after she went missing in April, while Pieters was found dead on Saturday in Epping, Cape Town. Police have made arrests in both cases.

Zuma said he was outraged by the recent events.

“We are outraged and seriously concerned about the reports of the abuse and killing of women and children in some parts of the country. We are especially extremely concerned that in most cases, these attacks occur in the hands of family members or in the case of women, their intimate partners. The nation must forge a united front with the law enforcement authorities, government and all sectors of society in fighting this appalling scourge and isolate these criminals in society but within the ambit of the law,” he said.

Zuma said violence against women had been declared a priority crime by government and said those caught were being handed long jail terms.

“Victims should not turn a blind eye to violence in their intimate relationships, at home, work or at school but should immediately report perpetrators incidents to authorities before such abuse intensifies and leads to murder,” said Zuma.

President Jacob Zuma, File.

“Human trafficking is modern day slavery. It is a gross violation of human rights and is a very serious crime and should be prevented at all costs. We call on community members who have information or any knowledge of such activities to report perpetrators to the police. Let us protect our girls,” Zuma said.

President Zuma has further encouraged the victims to utilize the 2, to report attacks, including those by family members or partners.

Victims of gender based violence can report attacks to the Department of Social Development's Gender Based Violence Command Centre hotline: 0800 428 428