SA: GBV perpetrators must be brought to account

SA: GBV perpetrators must be brought to account

Date: August 31, 2018
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By Sandiswa Manana

Johannesburg, 31 August:  Odwa Nkololo, a father of two, was sentenced three life sentences in prison for raping and murdering a four-year-old Iyapha Yamile and for also raping another seven-year-old girl. He appeared before the magistrate in the Western Cape high Court last week, Tuesday.

Iyapha Yamile disappeared in Khayelitsha on Easter Sunday in 2017. A massive search was organised, with residents trawling the area with a loudhailer calling for her. Like Karabo Mokoena’s body that was found burnt at the dumpsite, Yamile was also found wrapped in a plastic bag and dumped near her house the following day. These are some of the horrific stories we continued to hear as we celebrated Women’s Month.

On the 1st of August, South African women took to the street and marched to the Union Buildings in Pretoria to speak against sexual harassment and all forms of abuse against women. It is strenuous hearing about cases of gender based violence over and over again as if that is something the country is not trying to deal with.

Women on the ground shared their frustrations at the endless violence and threat of violence that is part of their everyday lives. Cape Town women also took part in the Total Shutdown movement. This movement was also for old and young women like Iyapha Yamile who died due to sexual violence cases.

As much as Nkololo’s deeds for raping and killing little Iyapha are unjustifiable, it is a relief knowing he finally got what he deserved, being jailed and kept away from the community. It cannot be ensured that the pain Yamile’s mother feels will soon be erased, but at least justice has been served for the murder of her baby.

It is in every parents’ best interests to see their children growing up healthy and becoming the best in future. However, Yamile’s mother, and many other parents who have faced the situation similar to hers, has been robbed off that opportunity. Losing a child is very devastating, and it becomes double the pain when the child has been tortured to death.

Men like Odwa Nkololo keep pulling South Africa’s development ten steps back. Many stakeholders gather almost every month to manoeuvre on how to end Gender-based violence, inequality and do away with rape cases. However, after long deliberations and campaigning, such instances keep occurring.

On the 9th of August, South Africa celebrated Women’s Day. Women across the country were celebrated and honoured. The issue that was stressed was that women should not be celebrated only in August and continue being abused throughout the year. It is every person’s responsibility to ensure the safety and security of women and children. The campaign for women’s rights should continue throughout the year. One woman or girl chid abused or killed.

Sentencing the young girl’s killer was a lesson to all other rapists that time to be lenient has passed. Odwa Nkololo was definitely not compassionate when he raped and killed the little girl, so his sentencing was not supposed to be kind to him too. Going forward, the government should tighten the sentencing against every person who is found guilty of hurting women.

Sandiswa Manana in an Alliance intern and this article is part of GL News.




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