‘Bring back death penalty’

2019-09-10 06:00
Tears for peace as Othandwayo Seti expresses her frustration at the gender-based march outside parliament.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

Tears for peace as Othandwayo Seti expresses her frustration at the gender-based march outside parliament.PHOTO: Nomzamo Yuku

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Open for an update by colleagues/ being a joint story as there are many marches planned across the city during the course of the week. All that women want are strategic plans to stop the gender-based killings nationwide, and calls have been made for the death penalty for murderers and rapists.

Hundreds of protestors including learners came together in solidarity during the march held outside parliament on Wednesday 4 September.

The march, themed #RememberingNene, was in response to the growing number of senseless killings around the country. It followed shortly after a University of Cape Town student, Uyinene Mrwetyana’s body was found in Khayelitsha, at her alleged killer’s home.

She was reported missing on Saturday 24 August and the suspect handed himself to the police on Monday 2 September.

Angry students and citizens took to streets to say enough is enough, demanding a detailed plan on how government is intending to address the matter. They say government has been quiet for too long, failing to serve justice for victims.

Protestors were angered by a “vague” response by Beki Cele, the national minister of police. He could not give details of how his office is planning to tackle the problem.

What Cele said was deemed by the public as an overrated statement.

He said the law would be enforced and police would do their best to ensure justice is served, adding it is their goal to remove the perpetrators of violent crimes from society.

“We understand you. This affects all of us and we are doing our best to find solutions. We know just making an arrest alone is not enough – justice must be served. We will work tirelessly to protect our women,” Cele said.

UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng was not satisfied by his response. She said the university is addressing the matter internally, beefing up their security systems and providing help to victims. However, their hands are tied when it comes to public spaces such as that where Uyinene was killed, she said.

“How can students be satisfied with what the minister said? They are angry at government and us as the university,” Phakeng said. “I am a woman, I am asking myself if I am the next,” she added.

Phakeng said counselling arrangements to help traumatised students have been made.

Othandwayo Seti, a learner at Cape Town High School, cried when Cele failed to give a detailed response. “Our mothers and sisters die every day and government is not doing anything. We are scared, stop talking and do something,” she said.

Another fuming protestor, Nokubonga Sithole, a UCT student, said they need to be taken seriously when making complaints about sexual harassment and more law enforcement visibility is needed.

Sithole said there is no more time for talking; all that is needed is action.

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