Lusikisiki : SA’s rape capital
Lusikisiki is the rape capital of South Africa. It’s a small underdeveloped rural town surrounded by impoverished villages.
South African Police Service Crime Stats registered Lusikisiki as the worst small town ravaged by the highest rape incidents in the country.
Bityi, outside Mthatha, is also registered as the worst village with a high number of murder cases.
The newly appointed Provincial Commissioner, Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene, has launched Operation Sesikhona aimed at ensuring the visibility of police in the communities.
Crime: Five year plan and vision unvailed
Mene unveiled and outlined her five year plan and vision for the fight against crime in the province.
“The vision is focused on various strategies and priorities the Commissioner will employ during her term of office to ensure safe and secure environment for the Eastern Cape. Operation Sikhona seeks to deal with violent crimes. The operation is haunted by high level of rapes and brutal killings of women and children,”says Mene.
Vulnerable group in the rural areas
The most vulnerable group in the rural areas is elderly women this as witchcraft allegations are the center stage for their victimization.
“We are living in this area but it is not nice, we are victims of all sorts of abuse, we are raped and killed. I have no neighbors all of them were killed. My other neighbor also was shot and killed and his wife was abducted along with her children we do not know what happened,”says Mene.
During the launch of Operation Sikhona , Eastern Cape Provincial Commissioner , Lieutenant General Nomthetheleli Mene urged other relevant government departments to come up with comprehensive strategies to deal with witchcraft related killings.
“I do not think as the police we can deal with the issue of witchcraft alone, we need other departments to assist us because it starts with the mind of a person. It is sad that witchcraft is always aligned with elderly women . No one is allowed to kill any person,”says Mene.
Traditional leaders believe that traditional courts will remain the only solution to end crime in the rural settlement.
Congress of Traditional Leaders of South Africa Chairperson, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana says different stakeholders need to play their part.
“We do have traditional courts but where are they? For more than 12 years the bill is there in parliament, it is history. We would like that there must be rule of law in this country, there must be respect, our people must be protected, yes we must have a role to play as the traditional leaders to persuade our community, but we must also have courts and polices to work with,” says Nonkonyana.
A need for police visibility
One of the residents in Bhityi, Lindiwe Mtirara says police visibility and mobile police station will be a solution to deal with crime.
“When the police were around here there was no rape. I do not want to lie about it. But immediately when the police left, a woman was raped and killed. If you call the police around 1 AM they will take 3 to 4 hours to come here.”
Provincial Commissioner Lt Mene says recruitment of police is underway.
“As we speak, we have over 900 personnel that we have sent for training from this province to address the issue of shortage of personnel .There are very few stations that I can safely say are fully beefed up with personnel . It is a challenge that we are currently addressing,”says Mtirara.
The Operation Sikhona is expected to serve as a catalyst to end brutal killings and rape of women and children, combat drug abuse and create a safe environment for every citizen in the province.