'Justice must be served’

2009-05-20 00:00

CHILDREN’S rights activists and community members yesterday protested outside the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate’s Court where a 31-year-old man appeared in connection with the rape and murder of an 11-year-old girl.

The Children To Children Foundation (CTCF) and Msunduzi Municipality residents who took part in the protest called for bail to be denied to the man, who has been accused of raping and strangling Nosipho Mkhasibe of Mnyadu, in the Edendale area.

Nosipho’s body was found naked in the bushes near her home early this month. She had gone missing the previous day and it is believed she was raped, strangled and dumped in the bushes.

According to her aunt, Nobuhle Mabaso, the girl left the house to go to the toilet and never returned. “She had undressed to take an evening bath, but decided to go to the toilet first. She wrapped herself in a blanket and went outside, but that was the last time her mother saw her alive.”

When Nosipho did not return, her family started to look for her, but she was not found. The next day the search resumed and she was found in the bushes.

The blanket that Nosipho used to cover herself could not be found, but, said Mabaso, a different blanket soaked with blood was found at a neighbour’s home. This led to a search for a man who disappeared from the area soon after the incident. Police tracked him to Kranskop where he was arrested. He has been charged with rape and murder and was remanded in custody. The case was postponed to June 25 for the bail hearing.

Buanews, the government online publication, reported that acting National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) head, advocate Mokotedi Mpshe, has called on the judicial system to take stronger action against rapists.

He was speaking at the NPA’s second Sexual Offences Indaba on Monday. According to Buanews, Mpshe said in order to send a sound message to perpetrators, the judicial system needs to be harsher in sentencing rapists.

“Women, young girls and even men and boys are not safe anymore. This is a tragedy and it reminds everyone to be more cautious and be active in fighting this crisis,” he said.

According to statistics released by the Medical Research Council (MRC), South Africa has one of the highest number of rapes in the world. More than 54 000 rapes of women and children were reported to the police in 2005/2006.

“Of all the rapes reported to the police, 40% of the rapes were children under 18 years and 15% were children under 12 years,” the MRC said.

 

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