'Dark period for SA' - Ramaphosa condemns Uyinene Mrwetyana and Leighandre Jegels murders

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Gallo Images/Sowetan/Esa Alexander

President Cyril Ramaphosa has commended South African law enforcement authorities for their action which led to the arrests of two people for the brutal murders of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana and SA boxing champion Leighandre Jegels.

A man arrested in connection with Mrwetyana's disappearance has been charged with her murder and rape as well as defeating the ends of justice, News24 reported. 

The man made his first appearance in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court on Monday. 

He is an employee at the Clareinch Post Office, where Mrwetyana was last seen alive. 

READ | Man arrested for UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana's disappearance charged with murder, rape

The estranged police officer boyfriend of female boxing champion Jegels, who shot and killed her on Friday, died in hospital, according to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID).

The man was arrested on Friday after a head-on collision near Peddie in the Eastern Cape.

He also shot and wounded Jegels' mother, Rita, who is receiving treatment in hospital.

"The murder of these two young women; one at the hands of a stranger and the other killed by a man who was reportedly her boyfriend remain a stark reminder that the women of South Africa are not safe, either in their homes or in the streets," Ramaphosa said in a statement on Tuesday.  

READ | Man who shot and killed boxing champion Leighandre Jegels dies in hospital

"On Monday, the body of a 14-year-old girl was found in a backyard in Cape Town, adding to a grim body count of murdered women and girls across the country.

Dark period

"This is a very dark period for us as a country. The assaults, rapes and murders of South African women are a stain on our national conscience." Ramaphosa said.

"We have just commemorated Women's Month. Sixty-three years after the women of 1956 marched for the right to live in freedom, women in this country live in fear - not of the apartheid police, but of their brothers, sons, fathers and uncles. We should all hang our heads in shame," Ramaphosa said. 

In 2019, the Presidency signed the Declaration on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide with various civil society formations and has directed that urgent attention be given to its implementation, particularly on immediate measures around support to victims and access to shelters and places of safety, the statement read. 

"The president has sent his deepest condolences to the Mrwetyana and Jegels families and urges all South Africans to keep them in their thoughts during this very traumatic time. The president will be meeting with the leadership of the police later on today to be briefed on, amongst others, steps being undertaken to stem the tide of gender-based violence in the country."

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