Violent crime must be a 'wake-up call'

2013-02-12 19:54
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa (Picture: Sapa)

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa (Picture: Sapa)

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Cape Town - The violent nature of crime in South Africa should act as a wake-up call to all in society, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa said on Tuesday.

Briefing reporters at Parliament, Mthethwa condemned the brutal murder of 17-year old Anene Booysen at Bredasdorp on 1 February.

Booysen's attackers raped her before disembowelling her, causing her to die of her injuries in hospital.

"Just take this very particular case where a person is mutilated and killed... it tells you that there is something which we need to be talking to our own conscience as a nation, as to what is it that we are doing to our young," said Mthethwa.

The minister said people should not be in denial that the rape, abuse, and murder of girls and women was a societal problem.

"Even those that are abusers, the bulk number of them are young people themselves, our youth, our kids... it's no use to point the finger at any one individual," he said.

It was difficult for law enforcement officers to police cases of rape.

"Our research keeps on pointing to the fact that this happens among acquaintances, not strangers. It's people you know, your next-door neighbour, your buddy, someone who's your relative and so on."

Mthethwa said police had little power to prevent violent crimes without community involvement.

"Police do need assistance... from the family unit first and foremost, because if your under-age child is not at home at 20:00, at 22:00 or your child is busy on the cyberspace, you don't even know who your child is interacting with."

Mthethwa described the rape and murder of young girls and women as a "monster" which needed to be confronted by all South Africans.

"The responsibility is really to all of us as society, that that humanity of ours, that ubuntu of ours, is very much needed in this time."

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