Who Is Steve Heath.
A Message To The President of South Africa.
Factors Contributing To The Increase In Child Rape.
A Proposed Solution To Stopping The Rape And Sexual Abuse Of Children in SA.
To watch Buddy and Me in real time click here, select South Africa under “Global Fleet Logins:” in the left hand panel, enter cellphone number 0822549129 and password Buddy.
To make a donation to or information on any of the organisations involved in assisting victims of child rape and abuse, please click on one of the following links:
Bobbi Bear Foundation (KwaZulu-Natal)
The Teddy Bear Clinic (Gauteng)
The TygerBear Foundation (Western Cape)
- To read Alison Botha’s storey about how two savages almost destroyed and ended her life and now our government wants to release these two barbarians after only having served a fraction of their sentence, read blog 59
- To read the storey – “A mother (Sharon Jeenabhai) A child (Natasha) and our governments intentions to release the Childs rapist/murder on parole, see blog 58
- Tips by ‘Rape Wise’ – ‘Eye on the child – A Safety and Protection Manual’ A MUST read by all parents – Blog 55
- To see the ‘Buddy and Me’ scheduled itinerary details for the period 30th August – 4th October 2011 see blog 50
- To read the shocking details of the Upington horror story – The Hynie Dick Story – regarding the ‘Upington savage pedophile’ see blog 35
- To read details of the ‘savage’ the police are looking for in connection with the rape of a 3 year little girl, see blog 39
- To read the heart breaking story by a mother (Cathy Kenney) of the rape of her 3 year-old daughter see blog 38
- To read the storey of Natasha who at 10 years-of age was brutally raped and murdered and after serving a very short portion of his sentence, the ‘State’ wants to release the savage who did it, from prison, see blog 10 (November 2010)
- To read ‘Birds’ story about her incredible courage to face her ‘step-father’ who she looked up to and loved as a ‘father’ who abused her and her love, as told by her mother – Elise – see blog 42
A Proposed Solution
the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children in SA
(This proposal relates to ‘children’ under the age of 12 years of age)
Due to the fact that it is primarily the mothers and children who are affected by the horrible and despicable crime of child rape, I have spent the past five years discussing the problem of the rape and sexual abuse of children with literally thousands of these members of our society (apart from the hundreds of discussions held with Police, NGO’s, Social Workers etc) in mostly the townships and villages where the far majority of child rape is occurring in order to establish;
- Why is it occurring?
- Why this despicable crime is not being reported?
- What needs to be done in order to encourage the mothers, and children, to report it?
- What needs to be done in order to eradicate it from our societies?
Following my extensive research I formulated a document identifying the six factors which I believe requires urgent attention in order to stop the rape and sexual abuse of children and how these factors need to be applied in order to accomplish this. This document was presented to various political leaders which included the office of the President in April 2010.
These factors included:
1) The establishment of ‘One-Stop’ support facilities
2) The Department of Social Development
3) The Dept of Social Welfare (A division of Social Development)
4) The Police Services
5) The Judicial/Court system
6) The Correctional /Prison Services
The thousands of hours of discussions have revealed that it is blatantly obvious that in-spite of tremendous laws having been promulgated and no matter how good or well trained our police force is, and no matter how severe the punishments handed down by our courts are, we will never stop the rape and sexual abuse of children, if the mothers do not report the rape of their children.
It is estimated that South Africa is experiencing on average between 580 and 600 ‘child’ rape cases on a daily basis with only approximately 15 – 18% of them being reported.
The statistics provided to me by NGO’s, Police officials and Social Workers throughout South Africa confirmed that at least 90% of child rape cases are being perpetrated by direct family members in the form of biological fathers, step-fathers, uncles and even grandfathers and also includes brothers and cousins.
The ‘Sexual Offences Act-32 of 2007 includes a section – Section 54 – which states that “Any person who is made aware of the fact that a child has been raped or sexually abused and fails to report it, is guilty of an offence”.
I believe this is a tremendous piece of legislation, however, unfortunately information received during my discussions with police officials as well as members of our judicial system (NPA – National prosecuting Authority) all over South Africa reveals that not one single person has ever been charged, not to mention convicted, under this section since its inception in 2007. (In-spite of experiencing 600 cases per day and only 15 – 18% being reported)
Why is child rape occurring in South Africa
During my research I was provided many ‘excuses’ as to why children are being raped and sexually abused and these included excuses such as:
- My research confirmed that here is no ‘culture’ that accepts the rape of children as a norm, however it is an accepted ‘practice / tradition’ in many societies around South Africa.
- Rape, especially of a child, is NOT a poverty related crime. One does not receive financial gain by raping a child, as in the instances of theft, robbery etc, in-fact in many instances the rapist is forced to pay the parent or child in-order to escape prosecution.
- The fact that parents, in many societies are forced, due to poverty, to live in cramped living conditions with children and forced to sleep in the same room, does not excuse the father/stepfather from forcing his sexual needs on the mother in front of the children. Any self-respecting parent or individual would ensure that his sexual needs are satisfied when the children are not present.
Sex with a ‘virgin’ child cures HIV/AIDS
- My research has identified the fact that although the HIV/AIDS epidemic has played a big role in the rape of children, it is not due to the myth surrounding the curing of HIV/AIDS by having sex with a ‘virgin’ child. The majority of ‘child’ rapists are in-fact HIV/AIDS negative, and that the reason they are raping children is because a specific group of children have been identified and considered to be an HIV/AIDS ‘safe zone’.
It is a common fact that due to the living conditions and health standards in the townships where the rape of children is occurring mostly, a child born HIV positive through pregnancy is not expected to live past its 4th birthday.
It is also common fact and knowledge that children, particularly in the township areas, are sexually active from the age of 12 years of age. (This is the reason our Department of Social Development is campaigning and handing out condoms to children included in this age group at schools around South Africa)
It therefore stands to reason that children in the age group between 5 and 10 years of age are considered to be in an HIV/AIDS ‘safe zone’ and when analysing the information on the rape of children in this age group it has been identified that the perpetrators in the form of strangers raping children in this age group are HIV/AIDS negative, the reason being that they are not prepared to take the risk of contracting HIV/AIDS by raping an older woman.
So having said this, when considering the fact that we are experiencing on average 600 ‘child’ rape cases on a daily basis, with only an average of 15% (90) being reported, and with an average national conviction rate of 5% (5) this equates to 30 of the 600 child rapists on a daily basis being held accountable and responsible for the rape of children.
In addition to this, the information provided to me reveals that the average time a convicted felon serves after being convicted and sentenced in South Africa, is one third of his sentence, based on a 25 year sentence – a convicted rapist will only serve an effective 8 years in prison (Correctional Services facility).
There is therefore only ONE reason why children are being raped in South Africa and that is because in the far majority of cases THE RAPISTS ARE GETTING AWAY WITH IT!!
Factors surrounding the failure of mothers to report
the rape and sexual abuse of their children
My research has identified that here are three primary reasons why mothers are not reporting the rape of their children, and these three factors are:
The fact that, in the ‘vast majority’ of areas in South Africa, the child has to be taken to a police station, this being, ’in the majority of cases’, the first point of entry into the ‘system’.
Here the mother and child are subjected to the stress, trauma and humiliation in the form of having to wait amongst other complainants in crowded charge offices and in the ‘majority of instances be subjected to additional humiliation and trauma in the form of being interviewed by an inexperienced ‘male’ police official (a member of the same species who has just destroyed the child’s life and subjected her/him to pain and suffering) taking her/his statement.
My discussions with police officials appointed to take these statements have revealed that ‘in the majority of instances’ the policeman or woman are sadly lacking the qualifications and experience needed to extract the necessary and vital information from the child in order to secure an arrest and successful conviction of the perpetrator.
This observation has been verified by many of our ‘specialised’ FCS unit members and court officials in the form of prosecutors and magistrates I have met during my travels around the country, who have confirmed that it is this very fact which has led to the totally unacceptably low national average conviction rate of between 4 and 6%.
Secondly, the child is transported from the police station to a hospital for the necessary forensic examination to be undertaken and J88 form to be completed by a doctor or Forensic Nurse.
Police officers and Social Workers in numerous areas around South Africa have confirmed that victims are usually transported to hospitals by means of a police vehicle and because many of the ‘outer-lying cluster/satellite’ police stations do not have access to passenger vehicles, and in-spite of; I am told, ‘police standing orders’ which stipulate that these victims are not to be transported by way of ‘police vans’, mothers and children are being transported in police vans, and this creates a form of secondary trauma with the child believing that she or he is the ‘guilty party’.
Thirdly, research and experience has revealed to me that at the hospital, the mother and child are subjected to additional stress and trauma by having to wait in crowded casualty rooms, and this wait can involve hours of waiting, which terminates eventually in the child being subjected to yet more stress and trauma by the extremely personal J88 forensic examination being carried out by yet another male (A member of the same species who has just subjected her to pain, humiliation and suffering).
For this reason it is widely believed that ‘the system’ provided by our esteemed government is, in itself guilty of child abuse due to the fact that the child is being subjected to no less than 5 different forms of abuse in order to report the crime of child rape, these being:
1) The initial rape
2) The harrowing ordeal at the police station
3) Being transported in a marked police vehicle
4) Crowded casualty room at the hospital
5) Having the J88 forensic examination being carried out by a ‘male’ doctor.
I do however commend the SAPS, particularly in the Western Cape Region for their initiative in setting up and establishing ‘Victim Support Rooms/Centres (VSR) at police stations. However in the majority of areas my research and experience on visiting these centres has revealed that they are very poorly staffed and managed resulting in them not encouraging mothers to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children. Secondly the majority of the ‘outer-lying cluster/satellite’ stations do not have VSR’s at all.
When considering that the “Objects of the ‘Sexual offences Act 32 / 2007” which states that:
“The objects of this Act is to afford complainants of sexual offences the maximum and least traumatising protection that the law can provide, to introduce measures which seek to enable the relevant organs of state to give full effect to the provisions of this Act and to combat and, ultimately, eradicate the relatively high incidence of sexual offences committed in the Republic”, I believe the current system does not achieve this objective.
Perhaps our esteemed government should put into practise what their own legislation states and provide the “maximum and least traumatising protection that the law can provide”, because “talk is cheap”.
Undoubtedly the best support structures in South Africa for rape victims as well as victims of domestic violence is to be found in the Mpumalanga and in particular the Greater Nelspruit region where ‘VSR’s’ have been established at police stations, hospitals and Regional Courts by the NGO GRIP (Greater Rape Intervention Programme)
As previously mentioned, my research indicates that 90% of child rape cases in South Africa is being perpetrated by biological fathers, step-fathers, uncles and grandfathers and discussions with women/mothers reveals that, because we in South Africa do not have a ‘welfare department’ which is capable of supporting the mother and her family should she report the rape of her child by the husband or other family ‘breadwinning’ member, who will feed and support the family should he be convicted and imprisoned?
Therefore due to the “financial implications” the family is faced with should a father/husband, “the bread-winner” be sent to jail, they, the mothers, will not report the rape of the children.
Due to the fact that, as mentioned above, 90% of child rape cases are being perpetrated by biological fathers, step-fathers, uncles and grandfathers, the ‘family’ places pressure on the mother not to report the rape or sexual abuse of her child because of the humiliation and embarrassment the family will be subjected to, as well as the obvious financial factor mentioned in ‘factor 2’ which the family will be faced with should the family member –‘breadwinner’ be arrested convicted and imprisoned.
A suggested solution to encourage mothers
to report the rape of their children
When asked of the mothers; “If there was a ‘One-Stop-Centre’, which would provide;
- Properly trained police, preferably women, who are trained to take a statement from your child or you and who are trained in the art of child psychology and know what they are doing with regard to extracting the right information from the child in order to open a police docket which will ensure that the perpetrator is arrested and convicted
- Where there is a doctor or trained, preferably female, forensic nurse, to undertake the examination without the child or yourself waiting for hours.
- And at this ‘One-Stop-Centre’ they will ensure that you have food on the table and your kids are clothed and can continue with their education.
- AND there is a person who will assist you in obtaining employment to ensure that you can provide for your own family,
Would this encourage you to report the rape of your children?”, and the response in every instance has always been an emphatic “YES then he must go to jail” and responses even include “Yes then he must die”.
Based on these three factors identifying why mothers are refusing to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children it is imperative that in order to encourage mothers to report the ever increasing horrendous crime of child rape, a proper and professionally managed ‘One–Stop-Centre’ support structure with properly trained staff be established on a national basis to provide child rape victims as well as the mothers, particularly in instances where the perpetrator is the father, step-father, uncle – Breadwinner – with a comprehensive support structure.
These, coupled with a few other reasons, which includes the unacceptably low conviction rate as well as the fact that the perpetrator in the far majority of cases is released on bail, which results in the intimidation of the victim, mother and family, is the reason that mothers have lost complete faith in the South African government as well as the entire South African police and justice systems ability to protect and help them and their children when faced with the horrendous consequences associated with the reporting of the rape and sexual abuse of their children.
Reasons for South Africa’s
unacceptably low conviction rate
In almost every instance during discussions with police officials, the response to my question of “What is the biggest contributing factor attributed to the pathetically low conviction rate of between 4 and 6% our country is experiencing?” is;
“The qualifications and experience of the prosecutors allocated to these cases is very low when compared to the qualifications and experience of the defence council appointed and paid for by the State in the majority of cases as well as the extremely long period of time it takes for a case to go to trial”.
After posing the same question to the prosecutors in the courts, the response has been;
“If you consider the pathetic statements obtained at the time of the initial reporting of the rape by inexperienced police officials and the total lack of evidence, and this includes basic evidence in the form of the child’s panties and other vital items of clothing and evidence, you will appreciate why our conviction rate is so low”.
This, following extensive research and being given sight of many such dockets by prosecutors across the length and breadth of South Africa, is undoubtedly the biggest factor contributing to South Africa’s pathetically low conviction rate of child rapists.
National Prosecuting Authority (NPA)
The other MAJOR contribution factor to the ridiculously low conviction rate of child rape cases in South Africa is the fact that it is taking on average 3 to 4 years for the case to get to trial and the biggest contributing factor for this is the lengthy period of time it takes in order to obtain the DNA results.
Extensive discussions with both police officials as well as NPA (Court) officials reveals that they do not see any reason why immediately on completion of the investigation of a child rape case, which according to information provided by SAPS-FCS unit investigators averages between 8 and 12 weeks, the case cannot be given precedence over all other cases on the court lists and go to trial immediately.
This will allow the child to provide evidence while still fresh in the child’s mind and once the child’s evidence has been provided it will allow the child to be helped (Counselled) through the trauma (currently not permitted by law) and allow the child to get on with her/his life and not be subjected to the extreme trauma associated with numerous court appearances while awaiting trial.
On completion of the trial and while awaiting the DNA results, it is widely believed that the case should ‘stand down’ with the accused held in detention pending the verdict.
This I believe would eradicate the obvious problems related to the child having to give evidence at a much later stage as is currently being experienced, which in most cases is reputed to be on average two and a half to three years after the incident.
By implementing this procedure it is widely believed that the conviction rate on child rape cases would increase immensely by fact that the accused cannot intimidate the victim or her/his family.
As in the case of child rape cases being given precedence over all other cases on the court trial lists so too must child rape cases be given precedence with regard to DNA/forensic testing.
It is also essential that blood samples and other DNA samples taken from the suspect must be obtained at the time of arrest and submitted together with other DNA evidence for analyses.
According to FCS unit investigators the fact that the majority of child rape suspects are given bail is another major contributing factor to the low conviction rate and so it is imperative that no suspect in a ‘child’ rape case be aloud bail under any circumstance.
Further more it is widely believed that a child rapists HIV/AIDS status must be used in the determination and severity of sentencing and if positive and on conviction, there can be no other sentence except life imprisonment with NO POSSIBILITY of parole or any other form of early release
‘One-Stop-Centre’ support facilities: The Solution!!
During the many hours while driving ‘Buddy’, the Beach Buggy, around Africa, I formulated, in my mind, what I came to regard as ‘One-Stop-Centre’ facilities which would provide victims of child rape, as well as victims of domestic violence, with a comprehensive support structure which could eradicate all 3 factors prohibiting mothers from reporting the rape and sexual abuse of their children AND improve the conviction rate from its current pathetic national average of between 4-6% to at least an acceptable 85%, all under one roof.
In September of 2009 while visiting Kuruman, I was introduced to the Thuthuzela Care Centre concept which was in the process of being established at the provincial hospital there and realised that this is, or rather could be, the ‘One-Stop-Centre’ support facility which I had been formulating in my mind.
I have subsequently come to establish the fact that the Thuthuzela Care Centre concept was started way back in 2000. The word Thuthuzela being a Xhosa word meaning “Comfort”, and was the brain child of SOCA (The Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit) which is a sub-unit of the NPA (National Prosecuting Authority).
Stake holders, I am told, include:
- The Department of Health,
- The South African Police Service
- Department of Social Development.
Funding of the centres
As far as I have been able to ascertain, funding of the Thuthuzela Care Centres, is via support from the ‘stake holders’ I have already mentioned budgets, as well as assistance from UNICEF and USAID (United States Agency for International Development) as well as funding via other European countries such as Denmark and Holland.
The ‘Thuthuzela Care Centres’ –
“The best kept secret in South Africa”
I commend the NPA and SOCA, as well as the South African Government for their initiative in coming up with the concept of the Thuthuzela Care Centres, and I truly believe that the Thuthuzela initiative is an absolutely fantastic one, I believe that if it was implemented correctly and in the manner they profess it to be functioning, and the services mentioned in the brochures and other documentation provided by them as they claims they are, it would be a major step in the right direction to eradicating child rape from our society.
In many areas I have visited and following my visits to most of the Thuthuzela Care Centres situated around South Africa, I have asked women/mothers in the community, a number of them being mothers of victims of child rape and sexual abuse, if they knew of the Thuthuzela Care Centre and have been shocked to be told that they have never so much as heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre in-spite of it having been established in the area for a number of years.
While visiting Soweto on the 21st October 2010, I visited three major shopping centres in the Soweto area namely, the Maponya Mall, Jabulani Mall and the Protea Gardens Mall. At all of these major centres I approached many individuals who confirmed that they were residents of Soweto and on being asked if they had ever heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre’s the response was an emphatic ‘No”.
Later while on my way to the Baragwaneth Hospital where I hoped to be able to visit the Thuthuzela Care Centre, which has been established there and hopefully be given a chance to chat to the staff, I stopped off at two nursery schools/crèches near to the Baragwaneth Hospital and was amazed to learn that the teachers and head mistress’s had also never heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre, in-spite of it having been established 5 years previously.
I also stopped two SAPS police vehicles within a three kilometre radius of the Baragwaneth Hospital and asked all five of the police officials in the vehicles for directions to the Thuthuzela Care Centre (In-spite of the fact that I knew exactly where it was) and received blank looks and the response was “No, I have never heard of such a place”.
Furthermore on arriving at the main gates of the Baragwaneth Hospital I was stopped by a security guard who when I asked for directions to the Thuthuzela Care Centre gave me yet another blank look and I was told “There is no such place here, this is the hospital”. When I insisted that the centre was in the hospital he made enquiries with the other security officers and all confirmed that they had never heard of the Thuthuzela Care Centre.
This information has therefore led me to believe that at present, and even after having been initiated 10 years ago in 2000, the Thuthuzela Care Centre concept is undoubtedly in my humble opinion “the best kept secret in South Africa”
Services provided by the ‘Thuthuzela Care Centres’
(According to their documentation)
According to the brochures provided by the Thuthuzela Care Centres, as well as documentation I have been able to secure via their website, the following services are provided at the centres, “on site”.
- A nurse in the examination room (Not provided at any TCC I have visited)
- An ‘explanation’ of how the medical examination will be conducted and what clothing might be taken for evidence
- A consent form to be signed, that allows the doctor to conduct the medical examination
- A bath or shower at the centre after the medical examination
- An investigating officer will interview the survivor and take her/his statement (Not provided at any TCC I have visited)
- A social worker or nurse will offer counselling (Only in one instance was a social worker based at the Centre)
- A nurse arranges for follow-up visits, treatment and medication for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s), HIV and AIDS. (Not provided at any TCC I have visited)
- A referral letter will be provided or appointment will be made for long-term, counselling
- The survivor is offered transportation home by an ambulance or the investigating officer (I was informed by a senior official of EMS that the ambulance service ‘EMS’ are not permitted/allowed to transport rape victims in an ambulance)
- Arrangements will be made for the survivor to go to a place of safety if necessary (This is contrary to the ‘Domestic Violence Act)
- Consultations with a specialist prosecutor before the case goes to court
- An explanation of the trial process (Not provided at any TCC I have visited)
- Access to information on the case (Not available at any TCC I have visited)
You will note that no mention is made of a doctor performing the crucial J88 forensic examination of the victim at the centre.
Not one of the centres I have visited around South Africa has a police official, doctor or forensic nurse based at the centre, on site.
In all instances in-spite of the fact that the centre is situated on the hospital premises my experience has revealed that it can still take hours for a doctor to be released from his duties in the hospital to attend to a rape victim. At all TCC’s the same applies to the service provided by the police.
How I believe the ‘Thuthuzela Care Centres’
should be established
My research has indicated that in order to encourage mothers to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children it is essential that Thuthuzela Care Centre’s, firstly, be established at all Provincial, Regional and District hospitals around South Africa and secondly, provide the following ‘On-site’ personnel and services at all centres
- 2 qualified policewomen dressed in civilian clothes, trained in the art of; child psychology, the taking of statements and evidence gathering, working two shifts, 6:00am – 2:00pm and 2pm – 10:00pm
- A forensic nurse (Female) trained and qualified to undertake the J88 forensic examination
- A doctor on immediate stand-by
- Social workers properly trained in the art of counselling
- Human resources individual (Details to be provided later in this document)
Additional support needed but not necessarily required to be on site but needs to be committed and dedicated to the support of the centre, is in the form of:
- A Regional Court Senior Prosecutor to train the police in the art of statement taking and evidence gathering.
- A psychologist to provide additional support for and training of the social workers
HR (Human Resources) person at all
‘Thuthuzela Care Centres’ is a vital necessity
My travels and discussions on child rape around South Africa have provided me the privilege of meeting many businessmen and women. These have included men and women in all categories of business, large, medium and small and after providing them with what I believe is a solution to encouraging mothers to report the rape and sexual abuse of their children they have all confirmed that they would gladly commit their business’s to an initiative which would encourage mothers to report the rape of their children in instances where the perpetrator is the father, step-father or uncle, a situation which would create a financial burden on the family should he be convicted and sentenced to imprisonment, by providing employment for the mother whenever they can in order to ensure that the perpetrator faces the full extent of the law and justice system.
My proposed solution is based on the concept of an HR person being included in the personnel appointed to all Thuthuzela Care Centres whose function would be, to be in constant contact with all businesses in the area covered by the Thuthuzela Care Centre and to maintain a record of all businesses committed to the initiative of helping mothers who have reported the rape of their child in instances where the perpetrator is the child’s biological father, step father or uncle, a ‘bread winner’ within the family. In this manner, immediately on being presented with such a situation the ‘HR’ individual can ensure that the mother obtains employment as fast as possible, and so becomes self sustainable.
However it is imperative that while securing employment for the mother, the Welfare Officer must ensure that the family is fed and clothed and this can similarly be achieved by securing the support of business’s in the area in the form of supermarket outlets and large chain stores who I am confident through my discussions with such businesses will fully support an initiative of this sort in the interests of stopping the rape and sexual abuse of children.
NPA (National Prosecuting Authority) involvement in the ‘Thuthuzela Care Centre’s’
I believe that the NPA should concentrate on what they are supposed to know best, the establishment of our judicial system as in functional and effective courts and in particular ‘Children’s Courts’ and make them ‘child friendly courts’ and in so doing ensure that the unacceptably low conviction rate of child rape is increased dramatically to an acceptable rate.
This could be achieved by the NPA focusing their attention on establishing the previously mentioned child courts and by relinquishing their function as ‘head/governing body’ of the Thuthuzela Care Centres and that this function should be that of an NGO with the support of the stakeholders namely;
- The NPA
- South African Police Service (FCS-unit)
- Department of Health
- Department of Social Development and Welfare
- Department of Education
The South African government’s insistence to place
their main focus on funding in ‘other areas’
is contributing to the increase of child rape
During discussions with South Africans of all walks of life and in many diverse areas, people are of the opinion that our government considers ‘traffic offenders’ to be a far greater risk to our society than child rapists.
This comment and opinion is based on the fact that hundreds of millions of Rands are spent annually on our elite and ‘highly trained’ traffic police in the form of the Metro Police. In 2010 the Minister announced on national television that the Metro Police in Gauteng was to be increased by an additional 1 500 traffic police men and women with cars.
In addition to this an enormous amount of money has been spent on the latest sophisticated toll scanning system which is currently being installed in Gauteng and which will also, I am told, detect motorists who have not renewed their vehicle licences.
Wherever one drives on our highways and bye-ways one see’s a very high visibility of ‘traffic’ police presence on our roads, in many instances with up to 4 or 5 traffic police cars parked on the side of the road with traffic police chatting and pulling motorists over with a ‘Zero tolerance’ attitude for not having their cars in a 100% road worthy condition and fining individuals for failing to wear their safety belts etc.
In contrast to the amount of money being spent on the Metro-Traffic Police Force is the fact that our SAPS–‘FCS’ unit ‘Family violence – Child abuse and Sexual Offences unit’ specialising in the fight against the rape and sexual abuse of children as well as domestic violence consists of a very small unit – when compared to the national traffic police unit – and consists of semi-trained and in many cases totally untrained, police officials who operate on the basis of the ‘cluster system’ which involves one main police station, where the ‘FCS’ unit is based, providing ‘support services’ to ‘satellite’ police stations where reports of child rape and acts of domestic violence are made.
It is a common fact that the biggest gripe from the SAPS is the fact that “They do not have transport” and this is the reason given when complaints are lodged by the public about the pathetic response time from the SAPS. Yet we see hundreds of Metro-Traffic Police cars ‘patrolling’ our streets daily and in many cases just parked on the road side along our highways and by-ways.
I believe, and it has been confirmed by members of the public across the length and breadth of South African, that our government must get its priorities right and decide “who is the biggest threat to our society, motorists or child rapists?”
I am not advocating that keeping our roads safe from un-roadworthy vehicles, speedsters and drunk drivers is not important, but when comparing the enormous amount of money being spent on policing motorists to that spent on policing child rapists and other violent criminals, the gap is humungous.
According to information provided to me, there is on average between 9 and 11 members allocated to each ‘FCS cluster’ and this includes administration staff, with on average two members being on stand-by (24 hours a day) to react to calls from all ‘satellite’ stations in the cluster area. I have personally visited areas where ‘satellite’ stations can be up to 150 – 200 kilometres away from the main cluster station making it impossible for FCS unit members to provide the essential specialised support service to victims of child rape and domestic violence.
To add to the woes of the South Africa Police – FCS unit, at a public announcement on the 11th October 2011, the SA Police Service National Commissioner General Bheki Cele (Suspended from duty on 25th October 2011) together with the Deputy Minister of Police Maggie Sotyu announced that the SAPS-FCS unit “has now been officially re-instated”.
In a message to the South African public on national television in February 2010 the Minister announced that the FCS unit was to be officially re-instated on a national bases as from 1st April 2010 (Refer ‘Buddy and Me’ blog Day 161 – 17th February 2010) this can only indicate that our Police Commissioner and Deputy Minister of Police are so far behind in their correspondence with the Minister that they are not aware of the fact that the unit was officially re-instated 18 months ago.
It is therefore no wonder our government and police force’s attempt at eradicating the rape and sexual abuse of children, as well as the rape and abuse of woman in general is getting absolutely nowhere! The ‘Child Protection Unit (CPU) and the so called FCS unit has been disbanded and reinstated so many times over the past 13 years that not even the South African Police Service knows whether they officially exist or not.
I must re-iterate on the fact that no matter what laws are promulgated and what punishments are implemented, we will never stop the rape and sexual abuse of children if the mothers do not do the right thing and report the matter to the authorities and allow the law and justice system to take it’s course.
However it is, I believe, the duty of the government to ensure that everything is done to encourage mothers to report the rape of their children and this can only be achieved by providing them and the victims with a professionally managed support structure in the form of the Thuthuzela Care Centres at every, Provincial, Regional and District hospital in South Africa which must provide the services and staff as I have outlined in this proposal.
It is therefore imperative that should the TCC support structures be provided properly, individuals contravening Section 54 of the Sexual Offences Act 32/2007 by failing to report the rape and sexual abuse of children, and this includes mothers and family members who pressurise mothers into not reporting instances of child rape, must be taken to task and face the full extent of the law, failing which there is no point in spending the millions of Rands to promulgate the laws in the first place.
It is my further belief that in the instances of mothers failing to report the rape of their children and following a conviction, a minimum of a suspended sentence should be handed down on the first conviction which will ensure that should the mother be faced with a similar situation in the future, she will not hesitate in “doing the right thing” and ensure that the child receives the necessary support and counselling needed to help it get through the ordeal and so become a “survivor”.
It is imperative that in order to encourage mothers and children to report the rape of children, after providing the essential support structure already mentioned in the form of properly established Thuthuzela Care Centre’s, that Government must commit to supporting them by ensuring that:
- Child rape suspects are refused bail and by ensuring that sentences passed down by the courts on conviction fits the severity of the crime – The vast majority of South Africans believe this should be in the form of the minimum of life imprisonment – and that no person convicted of the rape of a child should ever be allowed parole for whatever reason.
The other important issue which the ‘Buddy and Me’ project has focussed and concentrated on, is the horrific fact that in South Africa we are experiencing a humungous growth and ever increasing situation of the raping of children by children, and this includes perpetrators in the age group category of 7 to 12 years of age and evidence has revealed that the ‘Child Justice Act’ (Act 75/2008 in particular sections 7 and 9) has had a major influencing impact on this situation.
All indications and information have revealed that the current ‘Diversion Programme’ for child offenders identified in the ‘Child Justice Act’ implemented by the State is not only not reducing the number of child rapes being perpetrated by children, but is contributing to the ever increasing crime in general being perpetrated by children in this age category and so is experiencing the same result the States ‘Rehabilitation Programme’ for adult offenders has had, this being the fact that it is an encouragement to commit the crime rather than acting as a deterrent punishment.
My closing message to the South African Government
My closing message to our South African Government is that they should give serious consideration to the fact that the rape and sexual abuse of children is the biggest contributing factor to the break down of social standards and family values as well as the high crime rate in general in South Africa and it is time our government realised this and commits themselves to eradicating this scourge from our society.
The fact that they have not identified this fact is evident in the statement made by Minister Trevor Manuel – Head of the governments ‘National Planning Commission’ – in which he identifies “The 2 biggest problems facing South Africa” as being:
1) Poverty 2) Inequality
According to Mr Emanuel, “The 9 biggest challenges facing South Africa are:
1) Poor education 2) Too few South Africans are employed
3) High disease burden 4) Still divided society
5) Public service failing the poor 6) Too many parts of the country where people are locked in poverty
7) Infrastructure is crumbling 8) We do not use our National resources such as water and land well
9) Corruption “be-devils” everything we do”
Please note that according to our government, ‘The National Planning Commission’, stopping the rape and destruction of children is not a priority.
It is therefore time that our government realise that:
“If all children are given the opportunity to live their lives ‘as children’ and not be abused in anyway, they will grow up to be good people”.
This I believe is proven by the fact that we, as Africans, have proven to the world, many times, that we can take a Lion cub, a sibling to the wildest and most dangerous animal in the world, raise it by hand so that it eats out of our hand as a domesticated animal, and will lie at our feet on the lounge carpet even when it is fully grown.
However, abuse that Lion cub while it is growing up and it will bite you, and it will not only bite the individual who abused it, but it will bite everyone it sees in it’s quest to fulfil the hatred it caries inside it and to extract revenge for the abuse it was subjected to and to release it’s hatred on ‘man’ in general.
I believe that the same applies to a child. No child is born with a bad thought in its mind or the thought of committing crime or evil on society when he or she grows up. However if the child is abused, it will grow up with a heap of hatred and seek revenge not only on the individual who abused it, but will seek revenge and release it’s hatred on society as a whole for not having been there to protect it while it was growing up and being abused.
We hear, on a daily basis, from criminals appearing in our courts, that ‘They were abused as children’ and that for this reason they have extracted the hatred and frustration buried inside them out on society by committing violent crimes against them.
And so by eradicating the abuse, rape and sexual abuse of children from our society, we could eradicate, I believe, 90% of our countries violent crime as well as anti-social behaviour from our society.
Based on the information provided in this:
“Proposal for a Solution to Stop the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children”
My final message to the South African government is simple:
“Stop the Rape and Sexual Abuse of our Children and you WILL solve most of South Africa’s anti-social and crime related problems.”
The Children Are Our Future
This is what we hear government officials saying every day in the media,
So when are you going to listen to yourselves?
Finally, a message to the President of South Africa
The Children of South Africa
Please Mr. President, help us by doing the right thing,
Stop the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children – Now!
You can do it!
Project ‘Buddy and Me’–Searching for a Solution to Stop the Rape and Sexual Abuse of Children’
Please send all comments and opinions to: email@example.com
Please note that all comments and opinions on the ‘Buddy and Me’ website and blogs are those of Steve Heath and not those of the sponsors to the ‘Buddy and Me’ project.