“This is a very dark period for us as a country,” admitted President Ramaphosa in a statement on Tuesday. “The assaults, rapes and murders of South African women are a stain on our national conscience.”
The South African president said he will be meeting with the leadership of the police later today to be briefed on, amongst others, steps being undertaken to stem the tide of gender-based violence in the country.
Law enforcement authorities have taken action which led to the arrests of two suspects linked to the brutal murders of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, who was raped and murdered when she went to pick up a parcel from the Post Office, and SA boxing champion Leighandre Jegels.
Mrwetyana’s alleged killer (42) was arrested and charged with rape, murder and defeating the ends of justice. The man suspected of killing Jegels was also arrested and has since died in hospital.
“The murder of these two young women; one at the hands of a stranger and the other killed by a man who was reportedly her boyfriend remain a stark reminder that the women of South Africa are not safe, either in their homes or in the streets,” the President said.
On Monday 2 September 2019, the body of a 14-year-old girl was found in a backyard in Cape Town, adding to a grim body count of murdered women and girls across the country.
The President added: “We have just commemorated Women’s Month. Sixty three years after the women of 1956 marched for the right to live in freedom, women in this country live in fear – not of the apartheid police but of their brothers, sons, fathers and uncles. We should all hang our heads in shame”.
In 2019, the Presidency signed the Declaration on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide with various civil society formations and has directed that urgent attention be given to its implementation, particularly on immediate measures around support to victims and access to shelters and places of safety.
The President has sent his deepest condolences to the Mrwetyana and Jegels families and urges all South Africans to keep them in their thoughts during this very traumatic time. – SANews.gov.za