Despite massive awareness campaigns opposed to the rate of violence against children and women, the government, police and residents say it remains intolerably high.
This emerged during an imbizo to highlight violence against children, which was held at the Thusong Hall, in Khayelitsha, on Thursday June 15.
The imbizo was organised by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development and the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster (JCPS) to raise awareness about sexual violence and abuse in Khayelitsha, following the findings of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Violence against Women and Children.
According to the IMC’s report, one in three children are likely to be a victim of sexual assault and physical abuse.
Speakers and organisers believed that the imbizo would empower the community of Khayelitsha and areas such as Elsies River and Mitchell’s Plain to exercise their rights and collectively eliminate the scourge of sexual violence and abuse.
Speaking at the imbizo, senior magistrate in Khayelitsha, Linda Nyanga
said that it had been difficult for everyone recently.
She said the courts and police received complaints of child abuse in Khayelitsha daily.
Ms Nyanga said in May, about 19 children were killed in the area, adding that this was not acceptable.
She appealed to people, especially seniors, to report crimes that happened in their homes. She lambasted those who witnessed child abuse but keep quiet. “Today’s young mothers watch as their children are abused by stepfathers,” she said.
“We also watch our young boys grow and fighting each other. We are here today so that communities can better understand and know the laws, the wrong and the right.”
Ms Nyanga called on people to react when they see unfamiliar things in their areas.
Councillor Patrick Mngxunyeni encouraged residents to speak out against abuse. “We are here today to condemn crime. It is not even two weeks after we have experienced the two killings. We are still bleeding from those killings of young children. I must say we appreciate the support we get from the police. Let us all fight abuse against children,” he said.
Mr Mngxunyeni said there was a need to strengthen the Khayelitsha Justice Cluster.
Terry Carter from the Human Rights Commission commended the Harare police station for its victim-friendly room. She said there was a need for more victim-friendly rooms in the province.
Ms Carter called on people to support the police in the fight against child abuse. She said May had been hard for Cape Town as many children were killed.