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Mon Oct 20 23:18:08 SAST 2014

Zuma calls for harshest possible sentence for gang rapists

Sapa | 07 February, 2013 14:49
President Jacob Zuma. File photo.
Image by: PASCAL LAUENER / REUTERS

President Jacob Zuma called on Thursday for the harshest possible sentence for the men who gang-raped and mutilated a Southern Cape teenage girl who later died of her injuries.

"Impose the harshest sentences on such crimes, as part of a concerted campaign to end this scourge in our society," said Zuma in a statement on Thursday.

Anene Booysen, 17, was found by security guards at a construction site in Bredasdorp at the weekend.

She was gang-raped and mutilated, and later died of her injuries in hospital.

Zuma described the crime as "shocking", "cruel", and "inhumane".

"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 Democratic Alliance described the attack as one of the most gruesome acts of sexual violence the province had seen.

DA spokeswoman Liza Albrecht said it would do all it could to ensure the police and judiciary achieved a speedy prosecution.

Albrecht said DA MPs went to visit Booysen's family to show their support on Thursday morning.

"The DA is doing everything it can to support the family of the victim and will continue to do so this, including the arrangement of the funeral next week Saturday," said Albrecht.

The Progressive Women's Movement of SA said it was shocked by the number of women being raped in the country.

"The rape of women now seems to be the order of the day... we are even more perplexed that statistics indicate a low rate of conviction of the rapists," said spokeswoman Zingiswa Losi.

The organisation praised Booysen for identifying her attackers before she died in hospital.

Booysen's 22-year-old ex-boyfriend was arrested in connection with the crime.

He appeared in the Bredasdorp Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of rape and murder.

He would appear again on February 12.

A second man, aged 21, was arrested in Bredasdorp on Wednesday night.

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said it was satisfied with the progress police had made so far.

"The arrest of two men in connection with this vicious crime should serve as a lesson to rapists and murderers, whose aim is to infect our societies with despicable evil," said Popcru spokeswoman Theto Mahlakoana.

Lead SA said people should convert their anger over the incident into positive action.

"It is necessary to demand a series of actions including no bail for rape suspects, harsher and mandatory sentences for rapists, a speedier justice system and more easily-accessible resources to assist victims," said spokeswoman Pippa Rowles.

The African National Congress Women's League said it would call for a national commission of enquiry into gender-based violence, following the attack.

"We will be calling for a National Commission of Enquiry into rape and gender-based violence in order to develop a national strategy to eradicate rape from South African society," said spokeswoman Troye Martins.

She said the league's president Angie Motshekga would also meet with relevant stakeholders in government and civil society in an attempt to curb the violent crime.

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