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Sexual Offences Indaba addresses violence among vulnerable groups

The Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr John Jeffery, has warned perpetrators of sexual offence crimes to do away with sexual related violence. The deputy minister has further encouraged the victims and members of the public to work with government in fighting crime, adding that the current levels of sexual violence are unacceptable.

This call was made by Deputy Minister Jeffery during the 6th Sexual Offences Indaba, organised by National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) at the Emperor’s Palace, Kempton Park on 28 July 2014. The Indaba was held under the theme: “360 Degrees against Sexual Offences” and delegates were from as far as United Kingdom (UK), United States of America (USA), Non-Governmental Organisations and other government departments (JCPS Cluster).

“Despite many initiatives, interventions and indabas on sexual offences, we are here today because there is still a problem in the number of sexual offence crimes committed in our country and difficulties in bringing such perpetrators to book. We need do our own introspection at our society and evaluate the strategies that we have been following to deal with sexual offences,” the deputy minister remarked.

He encouraged victims, families and communities at large to report incidents of sexual violence to authorities as it will help government deal with this scourge and bring perpetrators to book. In most cases, according to the minister, perpetrators of sexual violence are known to, or related, to the victims.

The National Director of Public Prosecutions, Advocate Mxolisi Nxasana, shared the same sentiments, saying that the Sexual Offences Indaba provided an opportunity to look at how NPA could improve the way in which it deals with sexual offence cases. “We need to work proactively to deal with gender-based violence against women and children. Perpetrators of these incidents are men who are supposed to protect children and wives but turn to be monsters”, said Mr Nxasana. He encouraged victims of sexual violence to immediately report such cases at the nearest police stations, adding that perpetrators need to be “permanently removed” from society.

Advocate Thoko Majokweni, who heads the NPA’s Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) Unit said, South Africa has been put in a bad light because of high prevalence of rape and the Sexual Offences Indaba needed to find lasting solutions. “We are not here for the sake of networking, but to come up with ideas that can help us fight gender-based violence so that when we go out there, we know which weapon to use to fight sexual violence,” she cautioned, adding that collectively, there is a great need to ensure that women and children are adequately protected. “This meeting is purely for us to re-energise, reconnect and check whether we are on the right path.”

According to Free State Legal Administrative Officer, Advocate Maconi Seitlheko-Setlogelo, the Department of Justice has done good work with the initiative to re-establish Sexual Offences Courts which is a success. “From this Indaba, I think we still have a long way to go in terms of protecting women, children and vulnerable groups,” she said.

Mr Paul Mthimunye Mpumalanga Legal Service Director said the Indaba helped a lot in bringing ideas together and called for action. “The time to talk is over; we need to prevent the perpetual incidences reported on sexual violence,” concluded Mr Mthimunye.

20140728-SOIndaba

20140728-SOIndaba

20140728-SOIndaba

17 July 2014