Minister vows to act on rape of elderly

2013-10-09 00:00

THE attack and rape of elderly people is a sign that humanity is being eroded, said Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa.

“What kind of society do we live in that we no longer respect or honour our elders?” he asked.

Mthethwa’s remarks came as he addressed the residents of the Mkhambathini area yesterday. He was there to listen to the crime and policing concerns the communities had to share.

The minister said individuals and communities needed to reflect on and tackle the habit of attacking elderly people.

“That there are children out there who think they could rape elderly people means there is something wrong with us as a society,” he said.

His condemnation comes after an increase in attacks and sexual assaults on elderly people, especially in the Midlands area.

Inkosi Chiliza, who spoke before Mthethwa, had raised concerns about the attacks and said the elderly were now fearful not only of strange men, but of their own grandchildren.

“What would make an 18-year-old grandson attack his own 90-year-old grandmother?” he asked, referring to a recent case where a young man was accused of raping his granny.

Chiliza said communities should stand up to fight against such crimes. “When I was growing up, we would protect the elders. We would walk the old grandmothers to their homes and make sure they arrived home safely.

“These days, when elderly women see a young man, they start looking around for someone who could help them,” he said.

Mthethwa’s spokesperson Zweli Mnisi said the ministry had not engaged in any academic debate about the cause of the spike in sexual assaults of elderly people.

“The way we are currently looking at this is that it is a crime issue,” he said.

The Bishopstowe station commander, Captain Obert Phakathi, came under fire for failing to satisfactorily answer questions about investigations.

With the commander unable to respond on the progress of serious cases, and the residents accusing him of failing in his duties, Mthethwa vowed to take action.

“I will leave here knowing full well what the problems are in this area and what needs to be done,” The minister said.

He said it was unacceptable that cases considered priority crimes had not been solved a year later.

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