While South Africans are still reeling from the shock of two rape cases that have recently come before the courts, the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) has called for the chemical castration of rapists and those who attack women and children.
"We have tried our best. We have tried to raise awareness. We have tried to call for harsher sentences but in this instance, there's nothing that seems to lower down [the attacks]. Hence, we are calling for chemical castration, ANCWL secretrary general Meokgo Matuba said.
Her comments were made in the wake of the arrest of a man accused of the rape of a 7-year-old girl at a Dros restaurant in Pretoria and the arrest of a teen accused of the rape of a child in Blikkiesdorp in Cape Town.
She said section 11 of the Constitution guaranteed the right to life and that the league had discussed whether the death sentence should be considered for these crimes.
"It is getting worse every day. But now we are saying the first step would be [that] women must mobilise and unite in the country, including the progressive men, to say: 'Let's call for chemical castration.'"
The league will submit the proposal to Parliament and will lobby the Commission for Gender Equality, the SA Human Rights Commission, members of Parliament, members of provincial legislatures and people around the country for support.
"South Africans must step up from the comfort zone of saying: 'It's women's issues and therefore women must fight for themselves,'" she said. "It includes all of us. It's a societal issue."
She stressed that the league's concern was not only about violence against women and children.
"Even if people are not saying much about it, it is men who are also being abused."
"Any abuse against any other person in our country is very, very barbaric."
Matuba said preventing gender-based violence should be a strong component in children's education, starting in preschool, so that children could learn from an early age how to identify warning signs.
She said gender-based violence was part of wider societal problems, which included substance abuse.
"When you look at the generation after 1990, you begin to realise that, believe me, there is something that we are not doing correctly - especially teaching our children.
"When we are in the street, you will find boy children in the street, smoking dagga and nyaope and tik and all sorts of things, and 80% of them are young people.
"They are like a lost generation."
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