No bail for child murderers, rapists - minister
Johannesburg - Courts should not grant bail to people charged with rape and murder of children as the suspects "often go out and commit more crimes", says the minister for women, children and people with disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, said in Johannesburg on Monday.
Xingwana was responding to questions by children at the launch of the Child Protection Week at the Abraham Kriel Childcare Centre in Langlaagte in Johannesburg.
She said in a statement that one of the greatest challenges facing South Africa currently was the scourge of violence against children and "the people responsible for these crimes should face the full might of the law".
"We have too many children being attacked, raped and killed. The annual SAPS crime statistics indicate increases in cases of attempted murder, murder and sexual offences against children between the 2008/09 and 2009/10 financial years."
She added that attempted murder against children had increased from 782 to 1 113 and murder from 843 to 965.
Most of these crimes were committed against children between the ages of 15 and 17 years, but the department was equally concerned that children between 0 and 10 years were also affected.
In the same way the country dealt with HIV and Aids, the extent of violence against children required extra measures to address these crimes, she said.
"Acknowledging the magnitude and complexity of the factors driving this scourge, we are establishing an advisory council comprising of key government departments, civil society organisations and other relevant partners.
"This Advisory Council is going to strengthen and co-ordinate the implementation of the 365 Days National Plan of Action to End Violence against Women and Children," said Xingwana.
The theme for the Child Protection Week was: "Working together to protect children" and the launch was attended by various government departments and non-governmental organisations that promote child rights.
Participants at the launch included Minister Xingwana, Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini and Correctional Services Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula.
The Child Protection Week involves a number of activities organised by various government departments, provincial governments and non-governmental organisations to increase community awareness and highlight the plight of children.
The Child Protection Week also covers International Children’s Day and the Day of the African Child which would be observed in KwaMhlanga, Mpumalanga on June 1.