20/02/2013 – ACDP Response to the State of the Nation Address

20 February 2013
Speech by ACDP President Rev Kenneth Meshoe (MP)
Response to the State of the Nation Address debate by his Excellency

Mr JG Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa

 

SA’s rape statistics portray a country at war with itself – says ACDP

 

  • Those convicted of murder and rape should never be released on parole 

  • Govt departments’ expenditure of more than R102 billion on consultants highlights wastefulness 

“Honourable Speaker,

Honourable President, honourable deputy President and honourable members

Speaker, because of the shocking reports of brutal rape these past few weeks, I’m going to devote most of my time this afternoon addressing this scourge, and making proposals the ACDP believes should be adopted to help deal with this crime.

In December last year after an Indian student was brutally raped in a bus in Dehli, there was a national outcry, with thousands of people taking to the streets of Dehli angry, some crying and demanding that women be given more protection, and that perpetrators of the heinous crime be swiftly arrested and brought to book.

When 17 year old Anene Booysen was raped, her intestines ripped out of her body by young rapists, one of them known to her, one would have expected a similar national outcry, with thousands of people demonstrating in the streets, as in India. Alas, only a few hundred people protested. Those who are protesting, continue doing so until your voices are heard.

Speaker, the ACDP is very concerned about the increasing brutal rapes that have become part of our society.

In yesterday’s DispatchOnline, there was a report about the rape of a 110 year old grandmother from Jojweni village in the Eastern Cape. This is shocking and disgusting, and the young man who did it should receive severe punishment.

How should government deal with such cruelty? I agree with comments that were attributed to Contralesa President, the honourable Phatekile Holomisa, who reportedly said, and I quote, “it is clear we need a punishment that is worse than a lifetime in jail.”

Speaker, South Africa’s rape statistics are like a country at war with itself. We have the highest number of declared rapes in the world, with Interpol reporting that a woman is raped every 17 seconds in South Africa, and one in every two South African women will be raped at some stage in their lifetime, and half of these are under 18. We have to acknowledge that we have a serious, endemic and sustained culture of extreme violence against women and girls and drastic action must be taken by government to stop this unacceptable cruelty. Women, grandmothers and children have the right to feel safe in their homes and communities. They have the right to demand protection from government as we saw women in India do.

Judge Albie Sachs once said, and I quote:

… to the extent that it is systematic, pervasive, and overwhelmingly gender-specific, domestic violence both reflects and reinforces patriarchal domination, and does so in a particularly brutal form.Women and children are even being raped in police custody, by police officials. In Yugoslavia and Rwanda this is considered torture and is prosecutable, not only as rape, but as a crime against humanity. It should be the same in South Africa.

Adding to the problem, police officials have been guilty of not collecting rape kits from hospitals, with some being left for more than two years. This incompetence contributes to the low conviction rate.  These agents of the state are breaking the law, and each investigating officer that does not do due diligence in rape cases should be prosecuted.”

There are a few important things that the ACDP believes should be done to drastically lower rape incidents in our country.

1.                  Communities, particularly men and boys, must be told in no uncertain terms that sex is not an entitlement

2.                  Although there are efforts to train police to be gender sensitive, there are countless reports of police insensitivity when a woman reports a rape case. Police officers should receive specialised training to deal with rape cases.

3.                  Access to pornography by children is rife, and we do not have legislation in place that prevents children from being able to access pornography on their cell phones, for example. When children access pornography, it really damages their psyche. They do things based on what they see in pornographic material, and it completely desensitises them to moral issues and to what rape really is. If government is serious about fighting the scourge of rape and sexual abuse in our country, then they cannot allow pornography to be freely available everywhere in South Africa.

4.                  The use and influence of drugs and alcohol has contributed immensely to the problem of rape in our communities. Removing all illicit drugs from society, and arresting all drug dealers should become a government priority so that our children’s future can be secured.

5.                  Those convicted of murder and rape should never be released on parole. A clear message must be sent to the public that rapists will be dealt with harshly and those found guilty will be severely punished.

6.                  The majority of South Africans want capital punishment to be reinstated. A government of the people, by the people should listen to the people.

Having said the above, I now want to appeal to churches and all other religious formations to speak out louder against rape and women abuse in our communities. They should warn our people, particularly children, about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. They should be seen to be leading the moral regeneration campaign in our country.

The President further said that government is clamping down on corruption. He knows that most South Africans want to know why more than 200 million Rands were spent on renovations of his private residence at Nkandla with tax-payers money, and yet he is quiet on the matter.

Speaker, there are two questions that I want to ask about this secretive expenditure on the Nkandla project:

Firstly, even though we agree that the safety of the President and his family should be a government priority, I want to know why the President needs a bunker? Are there perhaps any plans by some comrades or foreign governments to bomb President Zuma’s residence like the French soldiers, assisted by the UN troops stationed in Ivory Coast, bombed the residence of former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo?

Secondly, if the reports in the City Press newspaper were correct, then why was taxpayers money used to build a tuck shop for the First Lady’s use? Obviously, this allegation challenges Public Works Minister Thulas Nxesi’s contention that government only spent money on security upgrades at Nkandla.

Speaker, the fact that government departments have spent more than 102 billion rands on consultants, highlights government’s wastefulness in keeping incompetent and unqualified comrades in office. Why don’t they replace them with competent ones so that these billions of rands could be used to build more schools for children who still learn under trees and in mud classrooms?

Lastly, on the issue of Palestine, I find it disheartening that with about 90 nations in the world accused of abusing human rights, the President can only see the Gaza conflict – when abused people in Syria, China, Russia and our neighbouring Zimbabwe are but a few crying out for attention.

Mr President, are you aware of the Christian residents who live in fear in Gaza and have appealed for protection from the International Community? They are allegedly harassed, raped and robbed by Hamas and Islamist extremists with no protection. Will you also speak out in their defence?

I wonder why the President chooses to be so biased and selective!”

-ENDS-

Media enquiries: Keeno Petersen, Media Liaison Officer, ACDP – Parliament, Tel: 021-403-3307 or Cell: 076-734-9067 or Email: kpetersen@parliament.gov.za

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