The Supreme Court of Appeal in South Africa has been compelled to overturn the judgement of the Eastern Cape Acting Judge Templeton Mageza who allegedly “took pity” on a man found guilty of raping a 9-yr-old child three times in a week.
Mageza, according to the Supreme Court of Appeal apparently believed the assaults were not the “worst kind” of rapes – hence he lowered the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.
The Supreme Court interpreted Mageza’s judgement as a product of “flimsy reasoning” and that it was the court’s duty to stem the “pandemic of sexual violence” in South Africa,
Late last week, SCA judge Caroline Nicholls – alongside two other judges – increased the convicted rapist’s sentence, providing their analysis of the attacks that Mageza believed weren’t as bad as other sexual assaults.
This judgement comes at a time that child murders and sexual violence against children have become rife in South Africa, especially in the Western Cape.
The World Health Organization’s World Report on Violence and Health defines sexual violence as: … “any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work”.
According to South Africa’s crime statistics released by the police in parliament on 12 September 2019.
It says sexual offences is a broad crime category that includes rape, compelled rape, sexual assault, incest, bestiality, statutory rape and the sexual grooming of children.
The number of reported sexual offences increased to 52,420 in 2018/19 from 50,108 in 2017/18. Most of these were cases of rape.
The sexual offences crime rate increased from 88.3 per 100,000 in 2017/18 to 90.9 in 2018/19.
Total sexual offences recorded in South Africa in 2018/19
Rape = 41,583, Sexual assault =7,437, Attempted sexual offences = 2,146,
Contact sexual offences = 1,254, Total =52,420
South Africa’s legal definition of rape is broad. It includes the oral, anal or vaginal penetration of a person (male or female) with a genital organ, anal or vaginal penetration with any object and the penetration of a person’s mouth with the genital organs of an animal.
The police recorded 41,583 rapes in 2018/19, up from 40,035 rapes in 2017/18. This means an average of 114 rapes were recorded by the police each day.
The rape rate increased from 70.5 in 2017/18 to 72.1 in 2018/19.
But the police’s rape statistics should not be viewed as an “accurate measure of either the extent or trend of this crime” according to the Institute for Security Studies.