Jordaan rape allegation raised at forum on sex offences

2017-11-06 19:47


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Pretoria – The rape allegations levelled against SAFA boss Danny Jordaan was raised at the National Forum on the Implementation of Sexual Offences on Monday when the importance of immediate reporting of rape was highlighted.

Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development John Jeffery encouraged the immediate reporting of incidents of rape.

"I'm not sure why she didn’t report it immediately but I can well understand that many women would not want to report a rape for various reasons. But the problem is, it does make it more difficult getting a conviction,” Jeffery said in response to questions from the media about the Jordaan allegations.

Former ANC MP and singer Jennifer Ferguson accused Jordaan of raping her 24 years ago at a Port Elizabeth hotel. During an interview on Radio 702 last month, she said she was considering legal action.

During the radio show, it emerged that two other women, who have not disclosed their identities, have also accused Jordaan of sexually inappropriate behaviour.

"The third person will come through in a protected identity. There are huge business and power interests that are being threatened. We are perceived as a honey trap, part of some hidden conspiracy. But we are guided by our own impulse to heal," she told Radio 702 host Karima Brown. 

Jordaan has denied Ferguson's allegations.

Jeffrey said he did not know the facts of the matter relating to Ferguson and Jordaan, but added that he had read about the allegations and Jordaan’s response.

"One would hope that charges will be laid against Mr Jordaan so the law can take its course."

At a joint press briefing on the outcomes of the National Forum on the Implementation of the Sexual Offences Act, it emerged that only 18.4% of reported sexual offences cases ever make it to trial. This, despite a 72% conviction rate.

Advocate Thoko Majokweni, head of the NPA'S Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit, commented: ''We are generating more convictions, but I am not saying that is the best we can do. I think we can do more.''

The national forum follows the release of the recent crime statistics where it was reported that 49 660 cases of sexual offences were reported during the 2016/2017 financial year. 

Lisa Vetten, a researcher at Wits University, who presented a 2012 Medical Research Council study  to the forum, said that a number of cases don’t make it to court because a suspect is never identified or arrested.

She said cases are withdrawn due to a lack of evidence and, in some cases , the victim withdraws the cases due to stress. 

''Rape is a difficult crime to prove, but there are a number of practical interventions that can be made to improve the system,'' said Vetten. 

These reasons formed part of the forum's discussion which had 250 participants including civil society, regional magistrates, and officials from relevant departments. 

READ: Sexual offences, murder on the rise in SA

Addressing the media, Jeffery said that the resolutions taken from the forum would be included in a national action plan which will be monitored by the national forum steering committee.

"The National Action Plan aims to address and seek to eliminate challenges to the implementation of the Act," said Jeffery. 

"We owe it to the victims of sexual offences to make sure the Act works."

The Sexual Offences Act was enacted in 2007 in response to common and statutory law not dealing adequately or effectively with many aspects of the commission and adjudication of sexual offences, said Jeffery. 

Outcomes and challenges identified by the forum include: 

• The absence of professional skills and sensitive attitudes towards victims in sexual offences cases;

• The need for specialisation within the criminal justice system when dealing with sexual offences;

• The need for adequate protocols and application; and

• The evaluation and possible amendments to legislation such as extending the state’s right to appeal on matters of fact. 

Read more on:    pretoria  |  crime  |  sexual abuse

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