SA must protect women with laws - DA

Johannesburg - South Africa needed to implement the laws stated in the Constitution which catered for the protection of women and children, said DA leader Helen Zille on Sunday.

"It is time for government, communities, families and individuals to commit themselves to taking joint responsibility for tackling the root causes of rape and gender based violence," she said in a statement.

She was speaking after the brutal rape and murder of Anene Booysen, 17, who was found disembowelled at a construction site last week Saturday.

She later died from her injuries and was buried in Bredasdorp a week later.

Zille suggested that among other things, the SA Police Service should strengthen its family violence, child protection and sexual offences units so more offenders could be prosecuted.

Zille called for sexual crimes courts to be opened across the country and for a sexual offenders database to be maintained.

"Citizens can help by becoming actively involved in neighbourhood watch systems and report criminal behaviour to the police. Too often, perpetrators are protected by their victims and communities," she said.

The Council for the Advancement of the South African Constitution (Casac) on Sunday also condemned the vicious attack on Booysen. "[Her] mutilation confirms once again, that rape is not a crime of sex but a crime which uses sexual violence to exert power and subjugate another."

Three men have since been arrested for Booysen's murder. One of them is expected to appear in the Bredasdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday, while the other two will appear on Tuesday. It is alleged Booysen's identified one of her killers shortly before she died.

Casac's researcher and analyst, Nomboniso Gasa, said the high prevalence of rape and sexual violence continued to raise questions about the criminal justice system.

"There are hard and urgent questions that must be answered. Firstly, we must ask why do we have such low levels of arrest and conviction of those responsible for these crimes?" she asked.

Some of the honorary members of Casac include the late Kader Asmal and former apartheid activist Mamphela Ramphele.

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