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Senior government officials from the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security cluster met with representatives from various Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) on Tuesday, 03 May 2011 in Cape Town. This was the second of the two meetings held thus far aimed at establishing a common ground, informed by a common understanding and purpose on issues that relate to the crime phenomenon labeled “corrective rape”.

One of the NGO’s Luleki Sizwe wrote a letter to the Justice Minister Jeff Radebe raising concerns regarding corrective rape. The Minister instructed that a meeting be convened in order to attend to the issues raised. The first meeting took place on 14 March 2011 in Cape Town.

We would like to dispel a myth that government is not concerned about the plight of the victims of corrective rape. A proper perspective on this matter would be to appreciate government efforts in the context of the fight against crime. Crime fighting remains one of the five main priorities of this government and for that reason government remains resolute that no effort will be spared in fighting crime, regardless of how it manifests itself, including in the form of corrective rape.

Out of the two consultative meetings certain recommendations came out. All parties recognized the importance of collaborating in order to find lasting solutions to common challenges. We decided to employ a two pronged approach on the basis of which we will be able to attend to what is happening on the ground in the short term and also work on finding long term solutions.

The establishment of the national task team was one of the concrete proposals that came out of these consultations. The task team will have representation of the following national departments: Justice and Constitutional Development, Police, Social Development and the National Prosecuting Authority. In addition, Legal Aid South Africa and the judiciary will have representation. The NGO’s are in the process of consulting with other stakeholders and will soon make available names to government of those representatives who will represent all NGO’s nationally. The NGO’s will also have a representation of six members.

The national task team will develop terms of reference and will work on areas that include making contribution towards the development of policy. In addition, its brief will include carrying out a legislative audit aimed at examining the adequacy or otherwise of existing legislation. As the mandate of the task team goes beyond focusing on corrective rape and includes attending to issues that affect the LGBTI community, the team will work with the Human Rights Commission and the South African Law Reform Commission who will have two additional members as part of the task team. 

The approach in the short term focuses on enhancing public awareness campaigns, sensitization programs and training for staff (court officials, including prosecutors and the police) amongst other things.

A draft intervention plan has been developed and the details thereof will be shared once consultation has been concluded and the plan has been finalized.

The agreement reached yesterday on the establishment of the national task team and how it must be constituted as a vehicle that will drive the process towards finding lasting solutions marks a significant progress in taking the process forward. Secondly, we have established the regional nodal points so that those areas affected the most, can make contact with senior departmental representatives in the regions in order to provide for necessary assistance and monitoring of any cases that may have been reported in our courts.

The first national task team meeting will take place on 15 June 2011 in Cape Town. 

04 May 2011

Issued by the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, South Africa
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