Friday, December 18, 2009

Kids2Kids 2009 - What a Success! thank you

Without YOU guys, this could not be possible. We managed to donate 218 gifts for children this Christmas, covering 5 children's homes and safe houses. Kids2Kids started out as a pilot project and we have accomplished an amazing feat this year.

It could not have been done without your dedication to finding the uniqueness and identifying the individuality of children who are less privileged than our own.

A Sincere thank you and well done.

For more detials and pictures, please log on to

Sunday, December 13, 2009

South Africa tackles World Cup Child Trafficking Fears

By Courtney Brooks (AFP)

JOHANNESBURG — Lesotho-born Thato was brought to South Africa at age three, by a woman she knew simply as "granny". Five years later, her "granny" sold her into sexual slavery. The woman who bought her was running a sex ring that police are still investigating to find out how many children were involved.

   It's a scenario that South African authorities and child welfare campaigners are already working to prevent during the football World Cup next year, which authorities fear could draw in child traffickers hoping to cash in on the fanfare around the games.

   Thato, now 10, was rescued just three months ago by a social worker who brought her to Amazing Grace Children's Home, which houses 79 children outside Johannesburg.

   The home's founder Grace Mashaba, who explained Thato's story, said her parents probably had no idea that the "granny" would sell their daughter.
   "That 'granny' doesn't have children, so she keeps asking people, 'Can you give me your child so she can stay with me?' She has a good house, so people trust in her," Mashaba said.

   Thato at least was able to speak about her abuse. Another 10-year-old Lesotho girl rescued from the sex ring is too traumatised to talk, Mashaba said.

An estimated 247,000 children in South Africa now work in exploitive labour, including prostitution, according to the Child Protection Action Plan for the World Cup, created by government?s department of social development.

Campaigners worry that the problem will grow with the influx of tourists next year, especially as South African schools will be closed during the World Cup, which runs from June 11 to July 11, meaning many children could be left unattended during the day.

   "Child trafficking is a big concern because of the big economic pull of the event," said Stephen Blight, the head of child protection in South Africa for the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF).

"All the fans and visitors spending money will create a whole network that criminal networks will want to benefit from."

The government worries that child trafficking could increase as poor South Africans struggle for a slice of the four billion dollars the World Cup is expected to generate.

Parliament is due to consider a trafficking law early next year, aiming to prevent children from getting recruited to beg or hawk souvenirs on the streets, or more worryingly forced into prostitution.

Rebecca Pursell, a social worker for Kholisa Management Services, a child advocacy group, said the school holidays could add to the problem for children.
   "They will be loitering around without much activity, which places them at high risk not only of trafficking but of sexual exploitation," she said.

In addition to cross-border trafficking from Zimbabwe, Mozambique or Lesotho, many poor South Africans will leave rural areas to look for work in the cities during the games, she said.

   Mariam Khokhar, of the UN's International Organization for Migration, said prevention campaigns are already underway, including theatre programmes in rural areas to educate people about the danger of trafficking.

   "Criminal elements often tend to exploit such events, and there will be an increase in criminality which could possibly include trafficking," she told AFP.

For Thato, she will live at the Amazing Grace home for now. Many of children stay at the home until they finish high school, Mashaba said. Most of them have been abandoned, orphaned or abused. Those who have been trafficked from other countries can be repatriated, but often choose to stay, Mashaba said.
   "Even their own families, they do sell those girls. It's the people that you know that traffic the children."

Friday, December 11, 2009

Cops to set up DNA database for missing kids - by Caryn Dolley - Cape Times 11 December 2009

In a desperate attempt to help find youngsters who go missing, provincial police are trying to set up a national DNA database of children. Officers are also trying to get all cinemas and banks in the Western Cape to air a short video clip showing pictures and details of the 114 children who, as of yesterday, were missing in the province.

And they are also planning to approach all mall managers as well as train and taxi operators to try to get them to distribute pamphlets with the details of those missing.

Police announced these plans as officers continued searching for six-year-old Okuhle and three-year-old Mabaxole Maqhubela, the latest additions to the province's list of missing children. They disappeared in Laingsburg last week on their way from East London to Cape Town by taxi.

Yesterday, during the police's weekly press briefing, provincial visible policing head Robbie Roberts, said missing children were one of the "biggest concerns" in the province.

He said "on a daily basis a lot of children are reported missing" and as of yesterday the provincial total stood at 114 children.  Roberts warned parents not to leave their children alone or let them out of their sight.

"And ask yourself when you put your children in the care of somebody, do you really know that person? Do you really trust that person?"

Roberts urged parents to tag their children, including on the tag the child's name and the parents' contact details, especially when taking their children to a large public area like a beach. "It's unbelievable how many children get lost on a beach in one day," he said.

Roberts said children needed to be taught their home address and parents' cellphone or landline number. "Once recovered, we find it difficult to get this information from children."

He also urged parents to take photographs of their children so they would always have a recent one.

Provincial Police Commissioner Mzwandile Petros had therefore tasked Roberts, with the help of a number of NGOs, to come up with a more effective plan to tackle the problem.

In the most recent missing children case, Roberts said officers had been unable to find recent photographs of Okuhle Maqhubela and her brother, Mabaxole. The brother and sister went missing from a petrol station in Laingsburg at midnight last week during a trip from East London to Cape Town, where they would have been reunited with their mother.

Roberts said police in the province would approach the national office to have an identity kit they had created for children, to be distributed in the Western Cape and the rest of the country, approved.
Once filled out and completed, the kit would include details of the child, a recent photograph, his or her fingerprints, a DNA sample, his or her blood type and details of his or her parents.

If approved, Roberts said the kits would be distributed at all cr232ches and schools in the province early next year.

Parents would not have to pay for it and could fill it in voluntarily.

Roberts said a number of organisations were "making money out of missing children" as they were selling identity kits to parents and telling them their child would be put on a database.

"But we don't want the community to pay for us to search for a missing child. It's our job," he said.

Dessie Rechner, founder of the NGO Pink Ladies which helps police with search operations, said she was "extremely excited" about the identity kit and proposed database.

Roberts said "top priority areas" in terms of missing children included Cape Town, George, Nyanga and Claremont.

During the festive season, Roberts said at least 500 extra police officers would be deployed in the province.
When they conducted road- blocks and searched cars they would also hand out missing children pamphlets.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Cape Times on December 11, 2009

How to keep track of your children - by Mary-Anne Gontsana

Cape Times - 25 November 2009
    "My daughter went missing for one minute, I panicked and when asked to identify her, I went completely blank," says Norah Papanicolaou, founder of a community-based organisation Information Empowers.

   Information Empowers was established in 2001 with the aim of distributing information about child sexual abuse and ways to safeguard children.

   Papanicolaou said: "Not everyone has access to the Internet or can afford books. We are developing workshops and a workbook for children, called CIA Kids because confident, informed and assertive children are less likely to become victims of child predators."

   She said a recent project, the "Smart Kids' Kit" derived from a US-based organisation devoted to preventing crimes against children and assisting in the recovery of missing children.

   The kit is distributed free of charge and guides caregivers on how to keep important information about their children. It includes space for details such as birthmarks, height, age, and photographs.

This article was originally published on page 7 of The Cape Times on November 25, 2009

Friday, November 20, 2009

Marathino Christiaan Ohlsson - missing 20-month old - since end October 2009

I have read about Marathino Christiaan Ohlsson who has gone missing [Cape Times, Friday 20 November 2009] but find it difficult to understand why a clear and precise description of the 20-month old toddler has not been widely circulated.

He was wearing ‘ a blue and red long-sleeved shirt and a pair of green, brown and black trousers’, but what
about what he looks like? What about distinguishing marks, such as a birthmark or his eye-colour, hair and size.

All families should have a file with a detailed description of their child[ren] at hand.

Photographs of [especially small children] should be taken at least every 6 weeks for the eventuality of the
child going missing. Fingerprints and DNA samples can be easily taken and stored correctly.

We don’t want to recognize the fact that the possibility exists that our children could disappear, but we need
to be pro-active.

With the help and permission of the Polly Klaas © Foundation in the States, we have made a Smart Kids’ Kit available which we are distributing free of charge to anyone who would like to keep information of their children at hand.

If anyone would like a Smart Kids’ Kit, they can contact Information Empowers! via email at or link onto

Monday, November 9, 2009

Latest Domestic Violence Report Shows not enough has been done.

Denise Robinson, Shadow Minister of Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities - 4.11.2009

   Women reporting domestic violence incidents are being failed by police because they are not capturing the details of cases adequately. Police are failing victims by not noting incidents in the Domestic Violence Register, not obtaining witness statements or advising complainants of options, such as the availability of protection orders or their rights in laying criminal charges, and the list goes on. The cases have been outlined in the Domestic Violence Report tabled in parliament by the Independent Complaints Directorate.

   These failings go against the legislation of the Domestic Violence Act (DVA) which has been operational for nearly a decade, since 15 December 1999, and which the South African Police Service (SAPS) is meant to uphold.

   The SAPS should be protecting the victims and upholding the DVA. Failure to uphold the act will merely hold us back in achieving justice for the vulnerable victims of violence.

   The report shows that during the period of July – December 2008 there were a total of 66 allegations of non compliance matters by members of the SAPS received by the ICD.

   The highest number of non-compliance matters were reported in KwaZulu-Natal with 14, followed by the Free State with 9; the Western Cape and North West with 7 cases each, Northern Cape and Limpopo with 5, Mpumalanga with 3 and Eastern Cape with none. During July – December 2007, 57 cases of non-compliance were reported to the ICD so it is evident that non-compliance is on the increase.

   This is shocking considering that domestic violence is so rife in South Africa. According to the SAPS’s Annual Report (2008/2009) the number of crimes committed against women totals 188,425 - that’s 516 crimes against women per day.

  Further there appears to be a total lack of commitment from the government to fight domestic violence on the ground.

   The government removed the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS). But it has since realised its mistake and has said it will re-establish the FCS. The DA welcomes this move, but in a reply given by the Minister of Police last month we learned there has been no specific date set for the re-establishment of the FCS.

   There are not enough domestic violence shelters for victims of domestic violence. Only 96 shelters exist in South Africa and accessing these shelters is often difficult.

   This month will mark the beginning of “16 Days of Activism and 365 Days of No Violence Against Women and Children”. It is an international campaign originating from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute and runs from 25 November till 10 December each year. But it is clearly not enough that the issue of Domestic Violence is raised just once a year. This issue needs far more and constant attention.

   The DA will be asking the Minister of Police Nathi Mthethwa what steps he is taking to ensure that a national FCS unit is established quickly. There are FCS units and specialized individuals at cluster or station level but the DA feels this is not yet adequate. We will also ask what steps and training will be introduced to ensure that more SAPS stations are compliant with the DVA
    Questions have been asked of Noluthando Mayende-Sibiya, the Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities about the SAPS Trauma counselling centres. They were sent in June this year but we are still awaiting a reply. The questions have been attached below.

(a) As at the latest date for which information is available, how many SAPS Trauma Counselling centres currently exist at Police Stations per province;
(b) How many of these are fully functional;
(c) What are their hours of operation;
(d) How many counsellors are assigned to each of the centres;
(e) what qualifications and experience does each of these counsellors have;
(f) whether all members of the public who have been traumatized either through assault or abuse, are referred to counsellors; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(g) whether there are specialized counselling for adults and children who have been abused; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(h) whether there are any counselling for the parents of children who have suffered abuse; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(i) what monitoring systems are in place to ensure that these counselling services are properly implemented; (j) whether there are any systems are in place to give police officers counselling on a regular basis, bearing in mind that they are exposed to violence and trauma themselves in the course of their duty; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details;
(k) whether counsellors are paid a stipend or is this purely voluntary work;
(l) whether any Trauma Centres have been closed down over each of the past 3 years; if so, which centres and why?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Child Sexual Abuse - Who is doing this to our children?

Who is doing this to our children?
   There are various definitions for the type of person who would sexually abuse our children. Most commonly, they are referred to as paedophiles or child molesters.
   Important to know that once an adult or older youth has committed the crime of child sexual abuse, they cannot be rehabilitated. Although there are programs where they try to rehabilitate these predators, most of them concentrate on removing the prey [your child] from the perpetrator [the paedophile]. Like an alcoholic with alcohol, if these predators are in the presence of our children, the temptation is always there for them to molest and rape again and again. Most often, paedophiles and molesters are known to their victims or to their families.

Why do they do it?
   Paedophiles and molesters are attracted to our children sexually and they receive gratification by their actions. They often seduce our children with attention and gifts – this is called grooming.
   There are those predators who hurt our children because their motivation is more an issue of power than sexual desire.
   Then there are those who hurt our children through pornography and child prostitution because they seek financial gain.
   These predators do it because in most cases they have the power of control over our children and they have the privacy and opportunity to do it. It should become the life mission of anyone who has a child or who knows a child, to remove the opportunity, power, control and privacy from these predators.

   Paedophiles and molesters look for opportunities where they can abuse our children – they also create opportunities – in the privacy of the location that they have chosen, at their own time and on their own terms. We need to ensure that we know what situations and behaviours to look for in people who could potentially
sexually abuse our children.

   It is important to know that these predators are con-men. They will tell you anything to make you believe them and to go with them. They will look you in the eye and convince you that their intentions are good.

How do they do it?
   Paedophiles have various ways of ensuring that they have control over your child in order for them to sexually abuse them. Examples of grooming tactics and lures used by paedophiles to sexually abuse our children
Affection – pretending they care for the victim and their family
Assistance – asking for help from the victim
Bribery – age related items like sweets, toys, food, alcohol, money.
Authority – using their position as coach, scout leader for example, to lower the victim’s guard and defences.
False Emergency – they state there is an emergency at home
Fun and Games – that allows touching
Ego/Fame/Jobs – modelling jobs, beauty contests, private auditions; where they are told to keep it secret.
Name recognition – uses names of victims displayed on personal property like books, school bags, jackets, etc to make victim feel comfortable.
Threats/Fear – threatens the victim into not telling
Heroes – dresses up like Father Christmas or a clown to win kids over.
Magic and rituals – preys on victim’s innocence.
Pornography – uses pornographic material to lower inhibitions and then to make them feel ashamed and unworthy of the love of those who really care for them.

Who do they target as their victims?
   This is a broad description and not necessarily characteristics of victims. Children from birth age to those on the brink of puberty can be victims of child sexual abusers. Children who lack affection and physical and emotional attention at home. Children who lack confidence. Children who are left alone or left to look after
themselves. Children who are situations where there are no responsible adults to look after them. Children who live in homes where there are substance abuse.

Any child - Our children…

What can we do right now, to stop this from happening to our children?
   Remove your children from situations where paedophiles have opportunity, privacy and control over your child, where they can do what they want, where they want and on their own terms.

We need to teach our children daily from the youngest age, the following in an age-appropriate and non-fearful way…

That he or she has to check with you before they go anywhere with someone other than yourself.

To run away from danger.

To shout and make as much noise as possible when someone tries to forcibly take them away or tries to lure them away from the public eye.

To have a safety plan – if you are not home when they come from school, give them a safe alternative place to where they can go.

It is okay to say NO! to an adult.

Which strangers are okay to ask for help, for example, another mom with children, or the teller at the shop; if they are ever separated from you.

An adult or older child asking for directions or help is usually a sign of danger – adults should ask other adults for help or directions.

If an adult or older child takes something from them that belongs to them; and your child needs to get closer in order to get the thing back, they must rather turn around and run away and tell you.

You can handle anything they may wish to tell you. There should be no secrets kept from you – even if someone has told them that they would hurt them if they told.

Their body belongs to them. Any part of their bodies which is covered by a bathing suit is private – this means, that nobody must touch it. And nobody must ask them to show this private body to them for any reason.

To tell you or another adult if someone does something that makes them feel uncomfortable, scared or confused. They must tell until someone listens.

To listen to their inside voice [instinct]. Usually, if something feels wrong, it is. They must pay attention to this and get away from the situation.

To know their telephone number, address and full name.

Children are taught to obey adults, but if they’re feeling unsafe, uncomfortable or confused, they should get away from that adult and tell you about it a.s.a.p.

About basic sex education, using age-appropriate language and information.

What parents need to know and do right now and every day:
   Never leave your child unattended [playing in the front garden, or with the neighbour’s kids in the park, or in any situation where you cannot see them.] Not even for a minute – it takes seconds for someone to lure your child away, or to grab them by force. Remove the opportunity for predators to take your child away from you.

Ask yourself what motivation another adult or an older child would have to spend time alone with your child [always offering to baby sit, transport the child or be alone with your child].

Never let your child go places alone. Even 2 small children can be abducted together.

Know where your children are and with whom at all times.

Assume that what your child has to say is just as important as what you have to say – you are giving your child a voice.

Talk to your child, and listen to your child – really listen. Even 5 minutes of sincere listening to your child will ensure that your child knows that he or she matters and is important to you.

Try to identify situations and behaviours where your child may be at risk of being abducted, raped and murdered. Act on this. Don’t expose your child to that possibility.

Believe your child when they tell you that they have been hurt by someone, or shown something that has upset them or made them feel uncomfortable.

Listen to your children when they tell you they don’t want to go stay with someone with whom you want to leave them.

Love your child, and tell them that you love them as often as you can.

Can your child answer the following questions?

Can your child answer the following questions?

1. Do you know that it is okay to say “NO!” to an adult or an older child?

   Children are taught to always be polite and mind their manners and therefore, children would find it difficult to say no to an adult or older child when they feel uncomfortable or are unsure about what the adult or older child wants them to do. It is therefore important to realize that not all people have your child’s best intentions at heart. The reality is that there are people in this country who would harm your child for their own needs.

   Teach your child that it is okay to say no to an adult or older child when they expect them to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable or unsafe or uncertain. Tell them that you will explain to this adult or older child that your child was being safe and trusted his instincts or inner voice. And make sure that you do back your child up when it comes to him/her following their instinct when it comes to matters of personal safety.

2. Do you know when to stop a conversation that makes you feel uncomfortable, unsafe or doubtful inside?
   Children are innocent and even though they are taught not to talk to strangers, situations exist where adults and older children talk to your child about things that are inappropriate.

   Your young child may feel uncomfortable and not know how to handle the information [which may be explicit] that is coming their way. Teach your child that if a conversation makes them feel uncomfortable, unsafe or doubtful inside, to walk or run away and to tell you or another trusted adult about it as soon as possible.

3. Do you know which person to go to for help if you get separated from mom or dad?
   Children are taught not to talk to strangers, but what if a stranger is the only one who could help them should they get separated from you? You want to ensure that your child knows which stranger to go to for help should this happen: the woman behind the till at a shopping centre, choose the pharmacist that you always go to for medication as a meeting point, or look for another mommy with children. These are some examples of ‘strangers’ who may assist your child should they get separated from you.

4. Do you know to run and yell… shout and tell, when someone tries to make you do something that you feel uncomfortable or scared about?
   A Child sexual predator tries to blend in and wants as little attention for himself as possible. Teach your child to scream and shout and make as much noise as they can when someone tries to make them do something that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared.

5. Do you know that you should take at least 2 adult step backwards [2 adult arm-lengths] when someone tries to get close to you in order for them to get within their reach?
   A person who wants to forcefully grab your child will try anything to get your child to get close to them in order for them to do that - from stopping in a car to ask for directions to taking their favourite toy and asking your child to come and fetch it from them. You need to teach your child that for example, adults stopping to ask children for directions is always a danger sign – they need to turn around and run in the opposite direction that the car is facing; and should someone take their favourite toy and ask them to get closer to get it back, to rather leave the toy and tell a trusted adult. Their lives are more important than any toy could ever be.

6. Do you know to stay in the public eye when you ask someone for help when you are away from your parents/care-givers?
    Staying in the public eye means staying where other people are too. Should your child need to ask for help from a stranger in for example a shopping centre, they need to know not to go anywhere else with that stranger – they must stay where other people are too. Where they can be seen. An opportunistic child sexual predator will hone in on your child and may ask him/her to go with him to find his parents.

7. Do you know that if you are 50% uncertain about a situation or about the behaviour of a person, to rather run away and tell and be safe, than to stay?
   Instinct is something you’re born with, intuition is something that is learnt through experience. Young children do not have intuition, but it can be taught and the first most important intuitive lesson a person can teach their child, is to follow the little voice of doubt inside, and to listen when the inner alarm bells go off. So, if your child feels a little bit uncertain or unsafe or unsure about a situation or behaviour, teach them to listen to that and get away from that person or place.

8. Do you know that people who really care for you will always back you up when you tell them something that is difficult for you to deal with?
   Children need to know that no matter how bizarre a story or emotion may sound to you, that you will always listen – really listen - to them, and believe them. If your child feels that he or she cannot tell you anything, they may not tell you about the person who tried to touch them inappropriately, or who showed him/her his private parts. Children do not easily talk about things that they feel is ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ for fear of getting into trouble. Parents and care-givers need to create opportunities for children to talk and make sure that they really listen to the child, and not judge the child.

9. Who are the people in your life that you trust – do I know them?
   Children don’t always understand what trust is about. A child sexual predator may take weeks to gain the trust of a child through grooming methods and you won’t even know that your child has been talking to or spending time with that person. Make sure that you know every person in your child’s life.

10. Do you know your personal details?
   Name, address, phone number, mom and dad’s first names and their telephone numbers. Children are never too young to learn these details.

11. Do you have a password that only mom and dad and you know for when someone else picks you up from school or from a friend’s house?
   If they don’t know the password [which only mom, dad and you know] then you don’t go with them. You tell another trusted adult and insist on phoning mom or dad to check.

12. Do you have a safe alternative place to go to should mom or dad not be home when you come home from school?
   It is paramount to your child’s safety to ensure that your child has a safe alternative place to go to if you are not home when they get back from school. Make sure that you tell your child how to get there, and that the person they are with is a trusted individual. Also ensure that your child is comfortable and feels safe at this place.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Rape not a 'crime' for Paarl Police - Mail & Guardian online 30 October 2009

By  Glynnis Underhill  
   A crime intelligence document leaked to M&G reveals that an identified suspect accused of raping three women in the Western Cape last year was allowed to roam free because the cases were allegedly among those not registered and investigated by police.
   The alledged rapes took place in Paarl and Paarl East, the document says. It says that many sexual offences reported at Paarl, Paarl East, Mbekweni and Wellington police stations were not registered on the police crime administration system for months, and in some instances years.
   Some of the cases that were not registered involved children as young as four and five.

The cases were allegedly written up as 'inquiries' by police, according to police sources.

   As they were not registered on the police crime administration system, no detectives were assigned to investigate them, they said, and no arrests were made.
The cases were finally registered on the police crime administration system on June 15 this year and detectives were put on to the cases.

   The leaked document says that the family of a four-year-old girl who had allegedly been raped gave police the name and address of the suspect. The case was reported to police on October 10 2007, but was only registered on the police crime administration system two years later. The child had been taken by the suspect to his shack, where he allegedly raped her. No arrest was made, the document says.

   Another of the cases that was not registered or investigated involved a nine-year-old girl who was allegedly raped by five unknown juveniles.

   A 60-year-old woman, allegedly raped while she was sleeping, provided the suspect's name and address, but no arrests were made, as no investigation was launched.

   The cases were registered on the crime administration system shortly before Western Cape's community Safety Minister Lennit Max asked the Independent Complaints Directorate [ICD] to investigate the manipulation of crime statistics at stations in Paarl, Paarl East, Mbekweni, Wellington and Oudtshoorn.

   A police document given to the M&G by Western Cape police commissioner Mzwandile Petros reveals how, in 2004, he wrote to deputy provincial commissioners and area commissioners to tell them that he had been informed that cases reported, particularly at weekends, were not being registered timeously on the crime administration system.

   Failure to register reported crimes timeously resulted in the provincial commissioner being presented with an inaccurate picture of the crime situation, Petros wrote.

"The practice relating to the late registration of crimes should cease with immediate effect," Petros ordered.
   The M&Greported last week that a police report leaked to the newspaper alleged that Captain Hildegard Mackier, at the Paarl police station, was responsible for manipulating crime statistics to reflect lower incidence of crime.

   The report was sent to Petros on June 15 this year by director Vincent Beaton, who had just been appointed station commissioner in Paarl.

   Beaton wrote that the acting commander of the Paarl [FCS] Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit had told him that former Paarl policed station commander Mzwandile Tiyo had instructed officers not to open rape cases, but rather to record them as inquiries.

   Police spokesperson Billy Jones said the ICD was still investigating the allegations and that Mackier and Tiyo might be investigated. "Although the officers [Mackier and Tiyo] seem egaer to dispute these allegations, it would be improper for them to comment in the media when they still have to be interviewd by the ICD," Jones said.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Suffer the Children - Cape Time, 21 October 2009

I write in response to the wonderfully informative article by Mr Sipho Ngwema in the Cape Times, page 9, yesterday, 19 October 2009: “Strategy, not bullets, will stop criminals”.

The story of the child mentioned in the first couple of paragraphs is not an unknown one – it represents 500 children a day. That is the statistic of rapes committed against children in South Africa on a daily basis.

The Victims’ Service Charter is supposed to prevent further trauma to happen to victims of all crimes in this country. The tragedy of this it that the VSC is useless when the service providers themselves [SAPS, District surgeons, hospital and clinic personnel, social services,
prosecutors] either don’t know their role or are too busy with case loads in order to protect victims from further trauma.

In addition to this, the VSC it is a pretty piece of paper that makes the authors of it look good, but the people at grass roots level are not empowered to use it.

Last week the case of Randolene Fortune was in the Parow Magistrates’ Court. The magistrate wanted to throw the case out due to the fact that Randolene’s mother was ill prepared, emotionally to give evidence.

Allowing the alleged perpetrator a speedy trial - He has rights too. She could not get to the counselors to assist her and her family. Did it not occur to the magistrate that perhaps Randolene’s mother could not afford to get to a state-provided counselor? Fortunately, the case continued the next day and RAPCAN assisted Randolene’s mother.

The author mentions the liberation struggle under the capable leadership of the ANC then – today we are dealing with a different struggle: to keep our children and families safe in a world where politicians pay lip-service, the president of the country has no comment, the national police commissioner is auditing where the CPU personnel have been deployed to when they were disbanded; and while all of this is happening, our nation is crying out, our children are being raped and murdered, crime is rife.

Not one of our leaders in the ANC has come up with a strategy to fight crime. Police personnel are struggling because they don’t have the infrastructure to deal with the magnitude of crimes. With regard to the re-institution of the Child Protection Units for example, our Bheki Cele is doing an audit and he is still busy with it. We are still waiting for him to comment on his strategy that will ensure that no sexual offender [even first timers] gets bail, that it is easy for people to report rapes and crimes against women and children without secondary victimization, that the Child Protection Units are at every police station and that they are armed with professionals who know what they are doing.

No police bullets will help. We are still waiting Mr Cele, for your comment and your strategy.
Norah Papanicolaou
Director - Information Empowers!

World Cup Sex Trafficking Fears by Lynette Johns

Weekend Argus, 24th October 2009

Thousands of sex tourists are expected to be among the half a million visitors to South Africa during the World Cup next year, and there are fears that children will be abducted by trafficking rings.

Professor Susan Kreston says the US, Australia and the UK, Germany and Nigeria are where most of the sex tourists come from. She said there could be as many as 5 000 people who would pay to have sex with children during the month-long event.

Kreston is a Fullbright professor and research fellow at the Centre for Psychology and law at the University of the Free State. She was speaking at The Centre for the Book yesterday at a ‘roundtable’ organised by child rights group Molo Songololo.

Kreston hoped that the Prevention And Combating of Trafficking In Persons Bill would become law before the World Cup. She said traffickers would advertise bogus jobs in major cities, some of them connected to the World Cup, and the successful applicants would find themselves trapped in a world of prostitution.

Children most at risk included orphans, children from child-headed households, poor children and those living in rural and informal settlements. She said the children would often be initiated into the work by being gang-raped, held captive and moved from city to city so that they did not form any relationships with NGOs or people who could help them. They were also moved around the country because clients liked ‘fresh meat’, Kreton said.

Patrick Solomons of Molo Songololo said there would be 12 million children on holiday during the World Cup, and they would want to go where the action was, near stadiums and fan sites. “They will be at risk,” Solomons said.

Kreston said sex tourists often used conferences, workshops and major events as ‘facades of respectability. At the end of the day they go and find street kids.”

Sex tourists often also knew how to contact underground travel agencies which would ‘arrange children to the client’s specifications”. South Africa was a premier destination for sex tourists who found it easy to blend in because of the high number of tourists in the country.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

780 cases of rape reported daily - that is only 7% of ACTUAL rapes in this country!

Some 40,000 rape cases have been brought before the magistrates' courts of South Africa between June 2008 and July this year but only a tenth of that number ended in convictions, Justice and Constitutional Development Minister Jeff Radebe has said.

"A total of 39,946 new rape cases were added to the rolls of magistrates' courts in all nine provinces in South Africa between July 1, 2008 and the end of June this year,"” Justice Minister Radebe told parliament on October 8 in a written report. KwaZulu-Natal courts recorded the highest number with over 7 000 cases during the period under review, Radebe said.

He said that this is an average of over 780 new cases nationally each working day. "Over the last year, the highest numbers of rape matters appearing in courts were in KwaZulu-Natal, which enrolled 7 278 cases, followed by Western Cape, which enrolled 6 411. Northern Cape enrolled the least number of cases at 1 462," Radebe said.

Radebe said a breakdown of the cases by age showed the majority of rapes were perpetrated by young adults, aged 21 to 30. According to reports, South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape in the world. It is said that a woman born in South Africa has a greater chance of being raped than learning how to read.

This country also is said to have the highest incidences of child and baby rape in the world. The latest crime statistics showed 71,500 sexual offences were reported to police between March 2008 and March 2009, a 12 percent increase on the previous year. The government said that increase could be partly attributed to the inclusion of attacks on men. The last police rape statistics, which date from 2008, showed 132 cases of rape were reported per day countrywide - a figure activists believe to be a fraction of the real number of rapes.

South African President Jacob Zuma has taken a tough line on violent crime since being inaugurated in May 2009. Zuma's new police commissioner Bheki Cele has vowed to crack down on robbers, but has not proposed any specific measures around gender violence.

Ready to tackle crime - what about child sexual abuse?

Dear Editor

I write in response to the letter sent in by T Markandan from Silverglen: “Ready to tackle crime” published on Tuesday, 11 August 2009 in the Cape Times.

We can admire many people for wishing for an ideal world “where a girl [?] can leave a club at 2am and walk unaccompanied and reach home without being attacked or raped” [Bheki Cele].
This is an idealistic dream, and it may liberate us from criminals and criminality.
But realistically, we do not live in that world.

Mr Cele has not yet given the citizens of SA his strategy for ensuring that this would become a reality. It is all fine and well saying that he is strongly against the rape of women and children – I think all rational, reasonable and well balanced people are too. Having a tough stance on criminals is a great start.

What we need is a plan of action and implementation thereof, which includes some of the following:
* Empowering all people through education and information about child sexual abuse;
* Empowering the Community Policing Forums and Victim Empowerment groups with more [quantity] qualified professionals to assist victims and their families;
* Making education and information regarding sexual abuse available to all schools and all communities;
* Make known the methods used by child sexual predators;
* Make resources available to prevent child sexual abuse;
* Make sure that our police personnel have access to non-stigmatised help to assist them in dealing with these heinous crimes that they face daily.
* No bail for even first time offenders of sexual crimes.

The taboo of talking about child sexual abuse has reached a similar epidemic proportion as child sexual abuse itself.

Let us not be impressed by lip-service. Show us a strategic action plan and implementation thereof with haste - where we can say that our new National Police Commissioner has proven his mettle.

I am sure then we’ll know that he hasn’t disappointed those whom he is to serve and protect.

Norah Papanicolaou

What is your strategy, Mr Cele?

Dear Editor [Cape Times]

On Monday, 3rd August 2009, newly appointed National Commissioner of Police, Mr Bheki Cele stated that as any CEO of a company would have, he has a strategic plan for fighting crime. When asked what his strategic plan was for empowering the members of the re-introduced FCS Units [Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units]he commented that he would like to ensure that “a woman must be able to walk from a club or anywhere safely without being attacked”.

The problem, Commissioner Cele, is that for a long time now, women aren’t able to walk safely without the fear of being attacked.
And even more so, the children in our communities are being abducted, raped and murdered. We are yet to hear President Zuma’s comment on this or even his possible plan to abate this.

This nation is tired of politicians politicking. I understand that you are not a politician, but you have power in your hands and you can make a difference in communities where child sexual abuse is rife. You have the power to implement strategies and not just talk about them. You are in a position to empower victim empowerment groups and FCS Units to work with communities who are in a war with child sexual abuse. You are in a position to change this epidemic of our precious children being abducted, raped and murdered.

Please could you let us know, precisely what your strategy is in ensuring that FCS Units are empowered and that the right people who are qualified to handle the job are employed? Could you ensure that communities have access to information about crimes in their area? That communities have access to a police force who themselves are empowered by way of having correct information and resources to handle their own stress of the demands of their jobs without stigma?
The Victims’ Service Charted is great on paper – but we as citizens of this country want to see it working. What is your strategy?

I along with the rest of the citizens whom you are to serve and protect, look forward to your comment.


Norah Papanicolaou

Search This Blog