Statement issued by Bongani Msomi – UDM Secretary General

The United Democratic Movement (UDM) reiterates its call for harsher punishment of those found guilty of abusing and murdering women and children. There also has to be stricter bail conditions, before such criminals are set loose on society. In these regards, the justice system has been failing women and children for years and years.

It is said far too often, that criminals have more rights in South Africa, than the victims of crime do. In the case of gender-based violence and sexual offenses, the damage victims suffer is permanent and the offenders more or less walk away scot-free, or are not punished hard enough.

There is a perception that the reoffending rate of rapists and murderers is high and one wonders if the reform and rehabilitation these offenders undergo in prison is really effective in preventing future crimes. The recent incident where scantily dressed women all but stripped for the inmates of the Johannesburg B prison is utterly shocking. Many of these men are said to be guilty of violent crime and are murderers and rapists. Our correctional services are definitely not correcting anything in this fashion.

In addition, the efficacy of the National Register of Sex Offenders is questionable. Having limited public access to the register is not good enough. Although some would argue that citizens might become vigilantes and persecute sexual offenders if the register was freely available, there must be a balance between their right to privacy and citizens’ rights to be safe; we need to know whether we live amongst murderers and rapists.