THE PLIGHT OF CHILDREN IN SOUTH AFRICA
This month marks the start of an international campaign against the abuse of women and children. In South Africa, the situation is especially dire as seen with the latest crime statistics released by Police Minister General Bheki Cele on 23 November.
The statistics show that from July to September, 294 attempted murder dockets involving children were opened and are currently being investigated by the SAPS. Between April and June, 243 children were murdered, and another 306 children under the age of 17 were killed between January and March.
Additionally, between April and September this year, 1895 GBH cases involving children have been reported.
16 Days of Activism 2022
The above statistics are devastating but not surprising and offers more reason to demand concrete solutions during the upcoming campaign. Sixteen days of activism aims to bring awareness to the negative impact that violence and abuse have on women and children, and to rid society of abuse permanently. The 16-day period between 25 November and 10 December is characterised by various events and talks that forms the centre point of government’s comprehensive 365 action plan to combat GBVF crimes.
But what’s clear given the recent stats is that the state of safety for children in this country gets worse every time, which naturally raises concerns about the effectiveness of governments efforts to protect our children.
Our Contributions to Past and Present Child Murder Cases
WMACA has been involved in a number of horrific baby murder cases pre and post COVID. We’ve heeded several invitations by the state to prepare pre-sentencing reports on the phenomenon of child neglect, physical and sexual abuse as well as murder for cases before the South Gauteng High Court.
The widely publicised Baby Daniel matter (known to us as Baby M), was one of the cases in which we offered our expertise. We argued that the parents are by no means suitable candidates for rehabilitation. Both failed to take responsibility for the death of the infant and endangerment of the other sibling, and both wanted to protect themselves from the consequences of their actions. These observations along with other damning evidence contributed to the life imprisonment, and 20-year term handed to the boyfriend and mother of the child, respectively.
In a similar case, dubbed “Baby J”, we provided evidence that both acts of omission (not protecting children) as well as acts of commission (abuse) were inflicted on children within the family structure. It was proved that the abuse was deliberately kept a secret, that it occurred over a period of time resulting in the death of the baby, and that both the parents portrayed classic denials evidenced in child abuse matters.
We’ve also seen a spike in child abuse cases post COVID which is arguably one of the ramifications of putting women and children under lockdown with their abusers.
WMACA advocacy manager, Luke Lamprecht will be presenting evidence in another heartbreaking baby murder case on Wednesday, 30 November at the South Gauteng High Court. Other members of the advocacy team will also be present to render their support.
We invite members of the media to attend the court hearing to help us bring greater awareness to this case, and other cases alike. This kind of unification of the state, the press, civilians and organizations like ourselves is exactly the kind of activism needed to fight GBVF crimes during this time.
For further comment please contact:
Luke Lamprecht: 065 168 2971