Daily Archives: May 28, 2013

Govt condemns violence against foreign nationals

Pretoria: Government has warned instigators of violence directed at foreign nationals that they will face the full might of the law. This comes after attacks on foreign nationals in townships around the Vaal and Gauteng, which were preceded by incidents of looting shops owned by foreign nationals.

“These acts of violence are pure criminal activities, and those found guilty will face the full might of the law,” said Acting Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) CEO, Phumla Williams.

“We strongly condemn violence not only on foreign nationals but also on South Africans. South Africa is a democratic country that accommodates foreign nationals that are in this country legally.

“We commend the swift action by the South African Police Services in apprehending about 100 people associated with the recent lawlessness,” Williams added.

She said in the spirit of Africa Month, government called on all South Africans and foreign nationals to live in harmony. “Criminal activities against each other will not be tolerated, as such acts impact negatively on the country’s economy and image.

“Government will, in line with one of its priorities of fighting crime and creating a safe and secure environment for all its citizens, do all in its power to ensure that any form of violence is rooted out, and citizens live without fear of being attacked by criminals.”

SA backs ACIR initiative

Pretoria: The South African government has pledged its support for the establishment of an African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises on the Continent (ACIR).

The decision to establish ACIR was adopted by African Union member states on Monday at the AU Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

President Jacob Zuma, had, on behalf of South Africa, championed the AU Heads of State’s response in support of the proposal by the African Union Commission for the establishment of ACIR.

According to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation, South Africa’s pledge for resources and capacity was followed by a substantial number of countries taking the floor in pledging their support and readiness to contribute to the initiative.

It was thus adopted by the summit. The department said the ACIR proposal was in response to the on-going challenges of peace and security that undermine democratically elected governments.

Currently, the African Union does not have such an immediate response mechanism as the process of implementing the African Peace and Security architecture is on-going.

“The proposed ACIR is an interim measure pending the operationalization of the African Standby Force and its rapid deployment capability. The African Capacity is therefore not a new concept but is built on the principles of the African Standby Force.

“This interim measure will further provide African countries with the flexibility to take concrete measures to address the challenges in the interim, whilst allowing the process of operationalizing the African Standby Force to take place,” said the department in a statement on Tuesday.

Zuma said South Africa “volunteers and stands ready to provide support to deal with urgent matters of the continent”.

State-of-the-art court for Ntuzuma

Pretoria: Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Jeff Radebe, today launched a new generation court, fitted with state-of-the-art technology incorporating electronic communications, networking and data systems, in Ntuzuma in KwaZulu-Natal.

The newly built Magistrate’s Court forms part of the department’s infrastructure development intended for previously under serviced communities. The Ntuzuma Magistrates’ Court is the 43rd court to be built since 1994.

The equipment includes the digital court system for recording of proceedings in active court rooms and an Audio Visual Remand system which links to Correctional Services for facilitation of postponements and other matters via video conference.

The regional and high court rooms are fitted with CCTV equipment, two-way facilities and waiting rooms for facilitation of sexual offences cases involving minors.

The new court building will bring dignity to the manner in which justice services are administered in the communities of Inanda, Phoenix, KwaMashu, Ntuzuma and surrounding areas, especially since services at the old court site were limited.

“Through the construction of courts, the right of everyone to have any dispute resolved by the application of the law in a fair public hearing before a court is guaranteed. Bringing this court closer to the people will undoubtedly cut the travel costs and time,” said Radebe.

Hailing the opening of the court, KwaZulu-Natal Judge President Chiman Patel said the court had been mooted as “the answer to swift justice as it will alleviate the burden on the other court”.

Patel also mentioned that KwaZulu-Natal was a pilot site for the case flow management project, a project aimed at reducing case backlogs.

The department has invested over R200 million in the construction of this facility, which fits a project of this magnitude. A fully-fledged court building, which consists of 17 court rooms – including one High Court Seat, 45 magistrate and prosecutor offices, 19 prisoner cells and four prisoner consultation rooms – will be constructed.

SA to establish identity of tourists kidnapped in Yemen

Pretoria: The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) says is yet to determine if the two tourists kidnaped in Yemen are South Africans.

The department said officials in South Africa’s mission in Saudi Arabia, which is accredited to Yemen, are following up on reports. The department cannot confirm whether or not they are South Africans.

Two tourists, believed to be South Africans, were kidnapped in Yemen’s central province of Taiz on Monday. They were snatched by unknown gunmen in front of a hotel in Howban, Taiz province, about 250km south of the capital Sanaa.

Reports from the ground indicate that the area of Howban has been cordoned off, as police have been searching for the abducted couple. Foreigners are frequently kidnapped in Yemen by al-Qaida militants or tribesmen, who ask for ransoms for the release of their jailed fellows. Most of the kidnapped have been freed unharmed.

Dlamini urges action on protection of vulnerable children

Durban: Social Development Minister Bathabile Dlamini has urged all South Africans to come together to support National Child Protection Week by wearing a green ribbon, and to report cases of child abuse, neglect and exploitation to social workers and police officers.

“We pledge to take proactive action to end the abuse, neglect and exploitation of children in our country,” Dlamini said.

The minister on Monday said as the South African government was launching Child Protection Week, leaders were renewing their pledge to care for and support South African children without fear or favour, and to work to identify more child victims of abuse and to help protect them.

Dlamini was delivering a keynote address at the opening of the South African Conference on Orphans, Children and Youth made vulnerable by HIV and Aids, which included the launch of Child Protection Week and Pledge held at Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre in Durban.

The 2013 theme of the conference is ‘Changing Children and Young People’s Lives’. The aim of the conference is to evaluate the progress made with respect to recommendations of the 2006 conference and highlight models of protection, care and support that working in addressing the plight of orphans, vulnerable children and youth.

The conference will further look at the gaps and challenges that still exist and take stock of the contribution made by the National Action Plan for orphans and other children made vulnerable by HIV and Aids in addressing those gaps.

Dlamini said she was cognisant of the fact that protecting children was a shared national responsibility. “Our elders have taught us that it takes a village to raise a child. That is why we say umntwana wakho, ngumntwana wam’, your child is my child and my child is your child.

“We commit ourselves to make children aware of online risks, so that they can enjoy their online lives without fear. And we pledge to reduce the availability of online child sexual abuse material.”

She reaffirmed government’s commitment to continue its efforts to address violence against women and children through partnerships and effecting the relevant policies and programmes. “We pledge our political will and our common and national commitment to protect our children and to reducing the high levels of violence against women and children.”

Brutality in child-related cases on the rise

Speaking at the same conference, Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana raised concern over studies which show that violent crimes reported against children are decreasing; however, the level of brutality involved in the little reported crimes has become very severe.

The minister said her department, with the support of the Department of Social Development and UNICEF, in 2012 published a report on violence against children, which entails sections on violence against children in the family; violence against children in the school; violence against children in the community, and violence against children in the care and justice systems.

The report, she said, outlined important prevention and protection interventions that can be used to ensure that children are protected and that violence is prevented.

“In the report, we also outline root causes of abuse and various family and community elements that influence the negative behaviour of child abusers.”

Xingwana said the study further showed unacceptably high levels of violence against children, particularly at family, community and societal level.

“We also noted that children with disabilities had higher prevalence of neglect, physical abuse and sexual abuse than other children.

“Children with disabilities are also substantially more likely to be sexually abused than other children. The study reports that children with disabilities are easy targets for abuse because they may be less able to report the abuse to the police.”

She revealed that most children with physical or mental disabilities relied on adults for assistance with their personal care, which involved considerable contact with their bodies.

“Potential offenders may use this as an opportunity to abuse children and the abuse can remain concealed as it forms part of an everyday care routine,” she warned.