President Jacob Zuma launches Stop Rape Campaign as start to Human Rights Month

By sylviahammond, 1 March, 2013

President Zuma attended the launch of the Stop Rape Campaign in schools in Mitchells Plain.  The launch was hosted by the Department of Basic Education and LEAD SA at Glendale Secondary School on 28 February 2013.  The following is the text of the President's speech.

Good morning to you all.

Thank you for hosting us for this important occasion.

We are here today to share with you a very important message.

South Africa faces a problem of the ongoing abuse of women and children including violent attacks on defenceless women and girls.  We have to build a more caring society in which the rights of all are respected, especially the rights of women and children.

That is why government, through the partnership between the Department of Basic Education and LEAD SA, is launching the Stop Rape Campaign.

Over 64 000 cases of rape were reported to the police last year.  The Minister of Police indicated last year when releasing crime statistics that while the levels of serious crime had decreased, the levels of sexual assaults were of serious concern.

We have come together to say that these horrendous attacks must stop.  No woman or child should be beaten, raped, stabbed, shot or attacked in any manner anywhere in our country, whether by known or unknown attackers.  We know that there are also boys and men who have been victims of sexual assaults. This must also stop.

I trust that you do make time to read and understand the Constitution.

It says that everyone has the right to freedom and security of the person. This includes the right -

(a) not to be deprived of freedom arbitrarily or without just cause;

(b) not to be detained without trial;

(c) to be free from all forms of violence from either public or private sources;

(d) not to be tortured in any way; and

(e) not to be treated or punished in a cruel, inhuman or degrading way.

The Constitution also says that everyone has the right to bodily and psychological integrity which includes the right to security in and control over their body.

We should respect these rights and respect one another at all times.

Importantly, we remind you that all cases of rape, sexual assault or any form of violence should be reported to the police.

The police and the existing courts are empowered under the Domestic Violence Act, the Sexual Offences Act and Children's Act to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of violence against women and children.

We urge you to read these laws and know them well, and share the knowledge with your families.

 Our courts already deal harshly with perpetrators found guilty of violence. During the last financial year, the sexual offences units secured over 363 life sentences, with a conviction rate of 73 percent for crimes against women above 18 years of age and 70 per cent for crimes against children under 18 years of age.

Our fight has been further bolstered by the re-introduction of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units at the SA Police Service from 30 June last year.  These units have dedicated investigators and other resources and are assigned to cases where women and children are affected by violence.  We urge you to use these units to report cases of violence or attacks. We have also taken a decision to re-open the Sexual Offences Courts.

We wish to emphasise that men have a role to play in the campaign against rape and sexual violence.  Many men are already playing a constructive role in their communities, through raising awareness and assisting the police to catch the perpetrators, among many interventions.  Therefore, what we are launching today is not a women's campaign. It is everybody's campaign. It is also a campaign for all South Africans as this scourge affects all communities.

Tomorrow, at the start of Human Rights Month, we invite schools to participate in the Stop Rape Campaign.  Together we must say that abusers, murderers and rapists should face the full might of the law. In addition, we must support the victims of sexual crimes as to rebuild their shattered lives. They need the love and understanding of the families, relatives, friends and neighbours.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it is my pleasure to declare the start of the Stop Rape Campaign.

Working together we will make a difference.

I thank you.

Enquiries: Mac Maharaj 0798793203/ [email protected]

Issued by: The Presidency  Pretoria  Website:


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