Child Rape is a Very Serious Problem

The Democratic Alliance is up in arms about the ongoing scourge of rape in the Northern Cape. This is in response to a media report on a series of child rapes. I will thus today be resubmitting a parliamentary question on when the provincial anti-rape strategy will be presented to the legislature. This comes after I passed a motion in the house last year that it should be presented and debated as a matter of urgency. We are, however, still waiting!

It is estimated that nationally around 30 000 children per year are victims of sexual abuse. This is a clear indication that the ANC is failing to protect our children both nationally and provincially. Other examples include: the establishment of a Child Protection Register, which is intended to protect children from sex offenders, but contains only 22 names and cost R1,8 million to develop; the Department of Social Development has thus kept a dismal record of convictions for sexual offences against children under the age of 16. The above is in direct contravention of section 114 of the Children’s Act.

Furthermore, on a national scale there are 33 391 cases awaiting investigation by social workers. The department needs to do a comprehensive analysis of why this shortage of social workers exists, and it needs to come up with a long-term solution. This should include making it a priority to retain qualified social workers and incentivizing people to consider social work as a career. In our province it will also entail changing the department’s funding model, as more money is needed to properly fund formal NGO’s, so that they can pay professional fees to social workers.

In our province, the DA further believes that part of the reason that there remains minimal impact on the occurrence of rape is that existing programmes and projects across departments are not monitored and evaluated. It is precisely for this reason that we suggested the establishment of a violence prevention hub last year – an entity that will provide professional services to women and children affected by violence by integrating what exists but also moving beyond into the fields of rehabilitation, support for both victims and offenders and engaging in the concepts of femininity and masculinity. We also suggested that a crucial component ought to be supervision and monitoring and evaluation of existing activities.

Last but not least, is the matter of the still outstanding provincial Anti-Rape Strategy. How many children still have to be raped before we stop planning and start taking action.

Issued by Karen de Kock, MPL

DA Northern Cape: Leader

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