Police minister Bheki Cele, who on Tuesday visited Durban’s Inanda township to celebrate Freedom Day, assured the community that police are not turning a blind eye to the rape scourge in the area
The Inanda area currently has the highest number of rape cases reported in the country.
Cele, who was speaking at the KwaZulu-Natal’s provincial Freedom Day celebration event at the Ohlange High School, said police are treating the issue of rape crimes in the area as a priority. “However, we need co-operation from the community if we are to succeed.”
He said even President Cyril Ramaphosa has described gender-based violence as the second pandemic that the country has had to face. “So, as the police, we will never turn a blind eye to what is happening here,” he said.
According to recent crime statistics, between October 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, Inanda, which has since been dubbed the country’s rape capital, recorded 85 rapes in the last quarter compared to 83 in the previous quarter.
Speaking at the same event, MEC for Arts, Culture, Sport and Recreation, Hlengiwe Mavimbela, said it is unacceptable that women in Inanda and other parts of the province are still forced to live in fear despite the country having attained its freedom more than two decades ago. “Women are supposed to be enjoying freedom but this is not happening because of the rapes. We need to shut down shebeens in this area because they are the cause of these rape crimes,” she said.
Founded by former ANC president John Langalibalele Dube, Ohlange High School is where former president Nelson Mandela cast his vote during the country’s first democratic elections held on April 27, 1994.
KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, who kicked off Tuesday’s celebrations by laying a wreath on the grave of Dube, said the level of crime in the Inanda area is threatening to damage the image of the entire province. “KZN is making strides on a number of fronts but this area of Inanda is making us look bad as a province. Working in collaboration with various stakeholders, we will be launching anti-crime programmes in this area,” he said.
Zikalala also took a swipe at community members who damaged schools during protests.
“Destroying a school or university building is counter revolutionary. We must isolate all those who engage in such activities,” he said.
This year’s Freedom Day was celebrated under the theme “The year of Charlotte Maxeke” in honour of the late ANC social and political activist who was reportedly the first South African black woman to graduate from university in 1903.