To conquer rape, we need to beat drugs

stoprapeThe #StopRape campaign remains top of mind as we continue to be bombarded with horrific stories of women and children being raped and abused daily.

Has the awareness over recent weeks made any difference? I think it has, to some extent.

South Africans have been thinking and talking about this societal scourge. It has also resulted in the government taking action.

Lead SA and the Department of Basic Education launched the #StopRape campaign in schools
this month.

Pupils and teachers were asked to adopt a pledge. This has raised awareness among our youth, who are often targets.

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) which assist rape victims are cash-strapped. Many struggle to survive
with limited resources and the end result is that victims suffer. The government must urgently allocate financial resources to credible NGOs.

Experts say substance abuse contributes significantly to incidents of rape. President Jacob Zuma confirmed this when he launched the #StopRape campaign in Cape Town.

This means we have to plough efforts into fighting substance abuse in our communities. To point fingers at the government alone for the rape and drug scourge is unfair. We, as citizens, all need to take responsibility.

Drug dealers continue to target the vulnerable. We must stand up and do something. We need
partnerships at all levels.

Communities must unite and become involved in this fight. Law enforcement agencies need to tackle this problem with renewed vigour and social services have an important role to play.

Effective programmes must be rolled out.

I addressed the community of Bedfordview last week together with Gauteng Community Safety MEC Faith Mazibuko and provincial police commissioner Mzwandile Petros. Read more

Let’s tell the world SA has a lot of good to offer

2010_fifa_world_cup_fans_2

The success of the 2010 Soccer World Cup did much to boost South Africa’s reputation as a world class destination.

South Africa has been making international headlines over recent months.

The last time the country grabbed global attention to this extent, was when Nelson Mandela was released from prison and during the first democratic election in 1994.

More recently, the Marikana blood-bath, the rape scourge, “Blade runner” Oscar Pistorius killing his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp and the Daveyton police brutality incident have tainted our image locally and abroad.

South Africa has made the headlines across the world for all the wrong reasons over recent months – and even locally many appear to be disillusioned about what has been happening. Read more

Clarion call to break silence on abuse of rights

Making headlines for all the wrong reasons – the SAPS has been shamed by their handling of (from left) the Oscar Pistorius case, the death of Andries Tatane at the hands of police, the Marikana massacre and the most recent case of police brutality following the death of taxi driver, Mido Macia in Daveyton.

Making headlines for all the wrong reasons – the SAPS has been shamed by their handling of (from left) the Oscar Pistorius case, the death of Andries Tatane at the hands of police, the Marikana massacre and the most recent case of police brutality following the death of taxi driver, Mido Macia in Daveyton.

“Human Rights Day (21 March) presents an opportunity, every year, to celebrate human rights, highlight a specific issue, and advocate for the full enjoyment of all human rights by everyone everywhere.”

This year, we have much to reflect upon.

The South African Police Service (SAPS) is making international headlines again following the torture and subsequent death of a Mozambican national in Daveyton.

Earlier, we had the Marikana blood-bath and the murder of Andries Tatane in the Free State. These are the high-profile cases.

But what about the many cases where ordinary citizens get abused and tortured by those in uniforms and yes, they call themselves “law enforcers”.

The SAPS has a serious problem and it requires urgent intervention at the highest level.

A call has now been made for a judicial commission of enquiry into the police to ascertain the general cause/s of the police conduct.

I don’t think there is a need for a commission. It’s simply lawlessness of the worst form and an abuse of power by SAPS members. They must be treated as criminals and the law must come down hard on them. Read more

Phiyega must step up cop training to avoid sham

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega (source: EWN).

National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega (source: EWN).

The Oscar Pistorius case has gripped the nation and the world since Valentine’s Day when he shot and killed his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Much of the focus last week was also on the police investigating officer, Detective Warrant Officer, Hilton Botha.

Hours after Eyewitness News revealed that Botha himself was facing several criminal charges relating to a taxi shooting, National Police Commissioner, General Riah Phiyega, pulled him off the case.

She, however, described him as a “good” cop.

And on Friday, Magistrate Desmond Nair, gave Botha a tongue-lashing when he granted Pistorius bail.

Botha contaminated the crime scene and he made a number of mistakes.

Pistorius has to be somewhat thankful to Botha for his inefficiencies that resulted in him getting bail.

If the police can be so useless in a high-profile case, can you imagine how cases of ordinary citizens are handled? Yes, there are pockets of excellence, but for the rest?

Botha said he did not have footgear to wear at the Pistorius crime scene because there was no stock.

Several detectives have since told me they don’t have the essential items to use at crime scenes. Many have to get gloves from paramedics at scenes. Read more

Everyone needs to row in order to turn the tide

This column first appeared in today’s (Tuesday, 19 February 2013) Pretoria News Newspaper.

This column first appeared in today’s (Tuesday, 19 February 2013) Pretoria News Newspaper.

“GRANNY, 100, raped; 16-year-old gangraped; Nine arrested in North West for gang rape; 3-year-old raped in Cosmo City; Soweto pastor arrested for rape…”

And so the headlines continue. The rape scourge has finally outraged the nation.

I wrote in this column last week that it is critical for us to take this collective rage and turn it into concrete outcomes that will make a tangible difference in the fight against violent crime.

I am happy to report back on some of the issues I raised.

I appealed to President Jacob Zuma to publically declare that he was turning 16 days of activism against women and children into 365 days of activism.

It was good to hear Zuma in his State of the Nation address saying we should “make the campaign of fighting violence an every day campaign”. Read more