Cape Town – Amid the outrage and sadness over 19-year-old UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana’s rape and murder and the scourge of gender-based violence in South Africa, we have gone in search of solutions to this crisis.
Here are some of the suggestions:
Community activist Roegshanda Pascoe
“We need specialised courts to deal with gang violence and the violence against women and children.
“The justice system is failing South Africans. The law has to be changed. Why can the police only act after the fact and not before. When a person threatens you and says I am going to kill you, this is a criminal case. In SA it’s not a criminal case until the act has happened.
“When a person has committed a murder, he has revoked his human rights. When he rapes, he revokes his human rights as a law-abiding citizen. But the message out there is a criminal can do what he wishes and he has even more rights than I have.”
Chilling details of how Mooinooi couple were raped, burnt and killed
Pretoria – Tears ran down the faces of the Mooinooi couple while they were being gan-graped, minutes before they were both hung by their necks from a hook in the ceiling of a garden shed.
This was the evidence of Moses Rakuba, who was there on the day Anisha and Joey van Niekerk were murdered on alleged mastermind, Koos Strydom’s plot in Mooinooi, near Rustenburg.
Rakuba told the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria, that Strydom paid him R2 000 for his part in the crime. He was initially charged alongside
Strydom, his wife Mercia and co-accused Aaron (James) Sithole, his brother Jack Sithole and Alex Modau.
Rakuba meanwhile turned state witness and he is under witness protection.
According to Rakuba, Strydom paid them a deposit of R5 000 to abduct the women, but they took the money and left. On Sunday December 10, 2017 – two days later – Strydom phoned him and told him to come to the plot.
While at Strydom’s plot, he saw the Van Niekerk couple arriving in their car, with accused James and Jack in the back. They each grabbed
a woman by the neck at gunpoint and pulled them out of the car. James pulled Anisha into the house, while Jack took Joey to the shed.
Rakuba said when he went into the house, James was busy raping Anisha, while Mercia watched through a half open door. She called Rakuba and told him to tell James not to rape the woman, but James would not stop.
“He said he had lusted over her (Anisha) for a long time.”
Rakuba then went to the shed, where Jack was busy raping Joey. James then brought Anisha to the shed, where the woman were again raped.
“I could see they were traumatised as tears ran down their cheeks,” Rakuba said.
The women’s hands were then tied and they were then made to sign a document which was presented by Mercia. It indicated that they had
sold their plot to Strydom.
Rakuba said James was speaking on the phone to Strydom, who gave instructions that the women had to die.
“I brought ropes and wire and the rope was tied around their necks. They were tied by their necks to hooks from the ceiling and I had to
help lift them. But James said it was impossible for them to die like this, as their feet touched the floor. Jack then put his foot on the
side of their necks and pulled the rope to elevate them from the floor.”
Rakuba said he went outside and when he returned, he could see they were “green” and dead.
James rolled them in a blanket and placed both in a dustbin, he said, and dumped them on top of each other at a stream near the house.
“James packed wood on top of them and he doused them with petrol before setting them alight.”
Rakuba later assisted in setting their car alight.
Their bones were found two weeks later in a remote veld.
Kas Naidoo, relationship coach:
“Traditionally men have been our providers and protectors while women were the nurturers and home makers. In the last few decades, women have had to step up and join the workforce to either supplement the family income or be sole providers. It is really sad when a man misuses his masculine energy to hurt, rape or murder a woman because he has lost touch with his true nature.
“It is an inner weakness and loss of faith in himself and his abilities that moves him to use physical strength to dominate someone who is physically weaker. The loss of internal power causes him to seek power externally. Let us also remember that there are men in this world that are still admirably playing the role of provider and protector and we need to acknowledge and appreciate these men and sincerely hope that the rest will strive to follow their example.”
Mary Hames from the Gender Equity Unit:
“Femicide isn’t a once-off thing, the violence happens over a period of time… our own families and friends usually know about it.
“To stop this, victims should speak out – approach the police, legal system… we should all have the courage to speak about it.”
Yvonne Wakefiled: Founder of The Warrior Project:
“The femicide epidemic needs to be addressed at a number of different levels – individual (victim and perpetrator), relationship/family, young children and teens, community and society. Whilst The Warrior Project aims to assist victims, we are aware that specific interventions are urgently needed for each of the other levels to achieve a measurable improvement. The first step on all these levels is to have conversations. Only once the topic is regularly spoken about can change begin.
“However, at their core, each intervention would need to focus on: gender equality education; the reversal of violence normalisation; and the encouragement of open dialogue.”
Sifiso Zulu: a 42-year-old man from Mpumalanga
Maybe it will be better to do seminars for boys and men on how to treat women and girls and invite celebrities and other well known people to do talks about that then encourage boys and men to go to church.
The reason for using celebrities is because sometimes people will hear them better than when pastors speak or politicians on certain issues.
Pamela Padayachee of the 1WomanPact, an organisation that empowers women in KwaZulu-Natal:
“We need to have stricter law. We need to have an example made. We not calling for the death penalty as we are against it but we need harsher laws and some solid consequences for their actions. It is repetitive because people who into Correctional Services system are not dealt with in an effective way are six months down the line released and part of society. We need to have consequences. There needs to be a system that says, ‘if you do this is what you are going to face'”.