Rape of gogos shames us, says king

2013-02-27 00:00

ZULU King Goodwill Zwelithini yesterday condemned the rampant rape incidents against elderly women in the province, saying this was an embarrassment to the Zulu nation.

Speaking during the official opening of the fifth term of the KwaZulu-Natal Legislature, Zwelithini said the rape incidents against senior citizens were profoundly shocking occurrences.

Since last year to date, The Witness reported 11 rape incidents of elderly women in various areas of the province.

“This makes me feel embarrassed to be called the king of people who commit such disgraceful acts,” he told MPLs and guests who had gathered at the Royal Showgrounds in Pietermaritzburg.

The king made the statements as the Maphumulo Regional Court convicted and sentenced a 22-year-old man, Ndumiso Gcabashe, to 25 years’ imprisonment for the rape and robbing of a 90-year-old woman of her pension grant at Woza area in kwaMaphumulo in July 2010.

Zwelithini was dismayed that perpetrators were turning elderly women into their wives.

“This is an embarrassment I have never seen before in my life,” he said.

He said the rampant rapes were terrifying the elderly, who now wished not to get old anymore.

“But, there is no nation without senior citizens. Senior citizens are a gift to the nation,” Zwelithini said.

His Majesty said the authorities should take the plight of elderly women seriously and tough action must be meted out against the perpetrators.

He also called on Premier Zweli Mkhize and his government to do something about the scourge.

Zwelithini said communities should prevent the rapes because they know who the perpetrators are, and sometimes it’s their sons and relatives.

“To all communities where such disgraceful incidents happened, I urge you to exonerate yourselves and hand these thugs to the police. Let us work together to protect the elderly, children and women from abuse, rape and murder,” the king said.

“From today, let us unite with one voice and send a message to all wrongdoers that KwaZulu-Natal does not belong to criminals, rapists and murderers.”

His comments were welcomed by gender activists and organisations dealing with the abuse of women, including the Sonke Gender Justice Network and the 1 in 9 Campaign.

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