7 February 2013
The South African government has expressed its dismay and outrage at the rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl in Bredasdorp in the Western Cape.
According to media reports, the 17-year-old was gang-raped, mutilated and her body dumped at a construction site where she was found by a security guard. She died in Tygerberg Hospital on Saturday evening after reportedly identifying one of her alleged attackers.
President Jacob Zuma said the country was outraged at this extreme violation of a young human life.
“This act is shocking, cruel and most inhumane,” Zuma said on Thursday. “It has no place in our country. We must never allow ourselves to get used to these acts of base criminality to our women and children.”
The President further called on the courts to “impose the harshest sentences on such crimes, as part of a concerted campaign to end this scourge in our society”.
Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) Acting CEO Phumla Williams said the frequent occurrence of such brutal acts were unacceptable and would not be tolerated.
“It is worrying that rape and abuse seems to have become a norm,” Williams said on Thursday. “This will not be allowed to continue. Society needs to change their mindset about the dignity [of] life and respect for each other.”
The identified suspect was arrested and has appeared in court on charges of kidnapping and rape. Three other suspects have also since been arrested.
Williams said the criminal justice system would continue its fight against crime, but it was time for all members of society, including NGOs, the business community, and traditional leaders, to come together to rid the nation of what was now a scourge.
“This has to stop. We are confident that our law enforcement agencies will ensure that all perpetrators are put behind bars. They must face the full wrath of the law,” Williams said.
“Those who molest and abuse children have no place in a democratic South Africa.”