Recent violence shocking: Zuma

By Drum Digital
07 March 2013

President Jacob Zuma has condemned the recent spate of violent crime, particularly against women and children, and has called for a universal response to combat it.

"However, in expressing our disgust, we should not lose sight of the fact that the overwhelming majority of the 52 million South Africans are peaceful, caring, law-abiding citizens," he told the National House of Traditional Leaders at Parliament on Thursday.

"They love their country. They do their best each day to make South Africa a better place. Therefore, when expressing outrage, we should be careful not to then paint all South Africans as violent and brutal. We should be careful not to rubbish our country," he said.

South Africans should not and could not lose faith in their own humanity and collective ability to correct the wrongs in their country.

"We also dare not portray our beautiful country as an inherently violent place to live in," he said.

South Africa was a stable, peaceful country. Like all countries, there were elements which conducted themselves in a shocking and unacceptable manner.

"And like all countries, we will search for solutions.

"We have all been correctly angered by the rogue elements and criminals who molest women and children and commit other extreme forms of violence."

Others burned and looted properties during what should be peaceful protests.

The outrage expressed by the people at such recent violence was most welcome as it indicated South Africans had not lost their sense of right and wrong.

"Using this positive trait, we must now work closely together to find solutions."

Traditional leaders were well placed to work with the government and other sectors to rebuild the moral fibre of society. It was important to look at the causes, while also addressing the symptoms of the sickness.

The police were dealing with the symptoms in relation to criminal activities. As far as general crime was concerned, the levels had decreased over the years.

However, crimes against women and children remained high and of concern.

But, the police continued to make inroads. During the past financial year, over 363 life sentences had been secured, with a conviction rate of 73 percent for crimes against women above 18-years-old, and 70 percent for crimes against children under 18-years-old.

"With the support of the community, most suspects in the high profile rape and domestic violence cases have been arrested.

"I have also directed the justice, crime prevention, and security cluster to implement measures to nip violent protests in the bud. We are doing this to build a culture of responsibility, accountability, respect for authority and respect for one another," Zuma said.

-by Sapa

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