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I strongly condemn the spate of child rape and abuse in Cape Town and the Western Cape.

In the past couple of weeks we have seen horrendous cases of child abuse and rape circulate in the media. These include the rape of a 9 year old girl by a 17 year old boy in Blikkiesdorp; a child rape game reported in the Daily Voice called ‘treintjie’ targeting young boys; and the rape and murder of 4-year-old Iyapha Yamile from Khayelitsha.

I commend the South African Police Services (SAPS) for the arrests they have made thus far, and call on communities to support them to build solid cases and bring the perpetrators of these crimes to book.

Any families whose children have been sexually abused or raped must immediately report such incidences to the police. The police will then report the matter to the Department of Social Development, after which we will deploy our social workers. Family members and victims of abuse can also call the DSD Hotline on 0800 220 250 for support.

Child abuse and rape has no place in our society. I call on all men, women and children to stand up and make their voices heard, if you see something, say something! We must work better together if we are to end these cruel and barbaric acts against children.

We all have a role to play as government, civil society, religious leaders, and families. I call on parents and communities to be extra vigilant especially of children who will shortly be enjoying their December holidays.

As adults and parents, we are the front-line which protects children from harm. The protection of our children requires a whole-of-society approach. This means that as parents, siblings, mentors and educators; it is imperative that we educate the youth on sexual consent and safe sexual practices.

Our social workers and NGO partners will continue to provide psycho-social support and other interventions, and those affected during this difficult time.

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