Stand up and work together’

2013-03-22 00:00

KWAZULU-NATAL Premier Zweli Mkhize yesterday called on communities to stand up and be counted in the fight against social ills and human rights abuses.

“Nobody should disrespect the rights of others. The challenge we face now is that we cannot keep quiet any more,” Mkhize told a Human Rights Day audience in Umlazi.

Addressing thousands at King Goodwill Zwelithini Stadium, he expressed his dismay at the increase in rapes and murders of young children and women, especially elderly women, in the province.

“There should be a way for communities to stand up and work together with us,” Mkhize said.

The courts should impose tougher sentences on culprits, and communities should fight against drugs, HIV and Aids, under-age pregnancies, crime and other social ills.

Speaking in Nkandla, IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said the killing of miners by the police in Marikana last year had been like a repeat of the 1960 Sharpeville massacre — which was now commemorated as Human Rights Day.

Buthelezi said that although President Jacob Zuma had declared there should be no finger-pointing and recrimination, the miners were being prosecuted under the “doctrine of common purpose”.

The IFP leader said Zuma had recently stated that the country was stable and peaceful, when in fact “a woman was raped every minute of every day last year” in South Africa.

“We need real leadership on this issue of gender-based violence and rape,” he said.

The DA launched an anti-rape campaign in Durban.

DA provincial chairperson Haniff Hoosen said the campaign sought to promote responsible behaviour by men and he called on the police to act in a manner that treated victims of rape with dignity. “There was a pledge by parliamentarians. Each of them as leaders in society will promote responsible behaviour by men.

“We will call for protection of women and in instances of rape we will ensure that the SAPS acts in a manner that treats victims with dignity.”

The National Freedom Party held a prayer service at the Umlazi cinema highlighting the scourge of rape and killing of women and children.

“We as the NFP would like life sentences to be imposed for heinous crimes such as rape,” NFP secretary Nhlanhla Khubisa said.

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