THE Western Cape experienced a shocking number of sexual crimes involving children which increased by 6% this year. This has left families and communities desperate and afraid. Local NGOs said the number of child murders in the province were sitting at more than 66 and according to a study done last year, one in every three young South Africans had experienced some form of sexual abuse in their lives.
“This means that a total of 784 967 young people have been exposed to sexual abuse by the age of 17,” associate professor Lillian Artz, director of the gender, health and justice research unit at the University of Cape Town, said. She said this number was almost the population of Port Elizabeth and twice that of Bloemfontein.
It was equivalent to filling FNB Stadium in Johannesburg eight times and the Cape Town stadium by 14 times. The South African Police Service released the country’s crime statistics from April last year to March this year at the end of October 2017 with at least 39 828 rapes recorded. An average of 109.1 rapes were recorded each day.
The city of Cape Town had the highest number of missing children, rapes and murders. A local resident, Joane Fredericks has established a war room for the Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum which coordinates searches for missing children in Cape Town and has found about 50 missing children, of which only two were recovered alive.
Fredericks said the crisis forum started when the community ran out of patience after the rape and murder of 11-year-old Stacha Arendse in Tafelsig. Stacha disappeared in Mitchells Plain on the afternoon of March 27 this year and her body was found in the early hours of the next day at a sports field in the area.
Randy Tango, who lived not far from Stacha in Matroosberg Street, was arrested for the gruesome crime. He said in a plea agreement with the state that he had vaginal and anal “sexual intercourse” with the child. When she asked him to stop and threatened to tell her mother, he said he was not going to jail so he strangled her and threw her body in a dustbin.
Another case is that of threeyear-old Courtney Pieters in Elsies River who was allegedly raped and murdered by her father’s best friend, Mortimer Saunders. Meanwhile, the murder and rape charges have been withdrawn against two men who were arrested after four-year-old Iyapha Yamile’s body was found in Khayelitsha in August. Yamile was last seen playing with a friend near her home before her disappearance.
Her parents reported her missing after searching the neighbouring homes. Residents had driven around, calling her name through a loudhailer and asking for assistance from the community. So many other violent incidents involving children occurred throughout the year and the most recent was a seven-year-old girl was raped in Mitchells Plain. The suspect, a reportedly mentally challenged 52-year-old man was arrested for the crime.
The suspect appeared in the Mitchells Plain Magistrate’s Court and was remanded in custody. Although the official reasons for the abduction, rape and murder of children are not known, it is believed it could be linked to drug abuse.