Spate of violent crime a matter of national concern: Xingwana
Perpetrators of violent crimes against women, children, and the disabled should get the heaviest possible sentences, Minister Lulu Xingwana said on Friday.
"The horrific spate of persistent violence against women and children continues to be a matter of serious national concern," she told the National Assembly during debate on the women, children and people with disabilities department's budget vote.
Violence condemned women and girls to a life of fear and prevented them from being productive members of society.
"Women and children need our collective efforts to ensure that they can walk the streets without fear of being raped, assaulted, or killed."
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa's efforts to strengthen and resource the re-established family violence, child protection, and sexual offences units at police stations would expedite responses to these crimes.
The National Prosecuting Authority had increased Thuthuzela Centres to over 40 around the country to provide response, care, and support to victims of violent sexual crimes.
Xingwana also commended Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi for recruiting and training forensic technicians to staff a fourth forensic laboratory. Additional specialised courts and personnel could help speed up and reduce the backlog of sexual offences and all cases relating to children.
"We are engaging with the department of justice and advocating for our justice system to impose the heaviest possible sentences and no bail for perpetrators of violent crimes against women and children, including those with disabilities."
Cabinet recently approved the establishment of the national council against gender-based violence, to be led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
"The council's first deliverable, among other things, will be to review, facilitate, and monitor the implementation of the 365 days national action plan on no violence against women and children."
Xingwana said the recent spate of violence against children had touched the nation's conscience profoundly.