News24

Prosecuting Dewani suspects 'paramount'

2010-12-09 14:15

Cape Town - The importance of prosecuting the suspects in the Anni Dewani murder case cannot be over-emphasised, minister in the presidency Collins Chabane said on Thursday.

This was because the case had drawn global attention and damaged South Africa's reputation, he told a media briefing following Cabinet's last regular meeting of the year.

"The South African government will leave no stone unturned in the fight against abuse of women and children, and the perpetrators of the abuse must expect no mercy from the law enforcement authorities," he said.

All South Africans should stand up against abuse of any kind and report all incidents to the authorities to ensure the perpetrators were brought to justice.

Chabane said Cabinet regretted that some despicable abuse against women and children took place, and were exposed during the 16 days of activism campaign against the abuse of women and children, which ends on Friday.

These included the "cold-blooded murder" of Anni Dewani in Cape Town, the "shameful incident of sexual intercourse in a school yard in Johannesburg", and the uncovering of an alleged child pornography ring involving children at a house outside Pretoria.

Despite these incidents, Cabinet concluded that the 16 days campaign was a success in that it raised awareness about abuse of any kind.

Chabane said Cabinet also welcomed the initiative by the justice and constitutional development department to launch an awareness campaign to discourage the practice of kidnapping and abduction of women and young girls for marriage under the guise of the "Ukuthwala" cultural practice.

"In some instances, this practice is linked with the misguided belief that sexual intercourse with a virgin cures HIV/Aids."

The abduction of women under any circumstances was unlawful, unjustified, and punishable by law, Chabane said.