PRETORIA, Feb 16– The Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana, has welcomed the sentence handed down in the Wynberg Regional Court to a man for practicing ukuthwala, calling it a step in the right direction in fighting such harmful practices.
Mvumeleni Jezile was this week sentenced to 22 years direct imprisonment after he was convicted of three counts of rape, one count of human trafficking and one count of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
The 32 year old forcefully married a 14 year old girl from Gqaba in Mbabakazi Section, Ngcobo, in the Eastern Cape.
“The historic sentencing demonstrates that this government is serious about protecting its children and fighting harmful practices such as ukuthwala and human trafficking,” said the minister.
She called for the family members who were involved in arranging the marriage between the man and the under-age girl to also face the law.
Ukuthwala, which involves the abduction of women and under-aged girls and leads to forced marriage, is a gender-based health and human rights violation affecting women and girls globally. According to UNICEF above 60 million women and girls worldwide are affected by the practice of girl child marriage.
“The ukuthwala practice has a detrimental effect on the growth and development of the girl child who is denied an opportunity to enjoy their childhood and grow into a mature woman. Also it denies them access to education which in turn perpetuates inequalities in our society resulting in economic control and violence against women,” said Xingwana.
Source: SA NEWS