26 November 2013
President Jacob Zuma visited the Ikhaya Lethemba Centre in Johannesburg on Monday to mark the start of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children campaign.
The centre accommodates, counsels, rehabilitates and prepares rape and abuse victims for their court cases.
The President spoke to victims and staff, and highlighted the need for support for victims of rape and abuse in order to reduce the trauma they experience.
“It must be very devastating and intimidating for rape victims … to walk into the court and to be looked at by everybody,” Zuma said.
“If I was a victim I would go through a terrible experience, and justice has to be done for the perpetrator to be convicted. Then I have to re-live it again in such an environment.
“Legally, we need to find a way where we lessen the trauma,” he said.
Zuma was taken on a tour of the centre’s library, computer training section, and justice preparation section, where victims are prepared for court appearances in a room designed to look like a courtroom.
Zuma also spoke individually to residents, many of whom had fled from abusive partners.
He was accompanied on his visit by Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane and Johannesburg Mayor Parks Tau.