Views from the News

Shock of ‘corrective rape’ uncovered

25/10/2011

Edward Tsumele

Sowatan

NKEPILE Mabuse, CNN’s Johannesburg correspondent, says her recent research into the lives of lesbians fighting for acceptance has left her in shock.

Mabuse in this new documentary called World’s Untold Stories: They Call It Corrective Rape reveals the extent to which lesbians, often attacked and raped to “cure” them of the “disease”, are abused and harassed in South Africa’s townships.

Speaking to Sowetan yesterday, the award-winning CNN’s Johannesburg correspondent poured her heart out about her experience of the lives of lesbians in a conservative society.

“The level of abuse lesbians suffer from society is shocking. We have often read about the attacks, but what I did not know personally, until I did this documentary, is the constant daily abuse leading to the attacks. These people live in fear in a society where, despite the recognition of their sexuality by the Constitution, they still get harassed, attacked and raped.

“I spent days with some of these lesbians, particularly in Khayelitsha (a township in Cape Town). One of the lesbians in the documentary was stabbed 30 times and gang-raped by four men.

“I have travelled with them on a train to Parliament, and during this short journey they were gripped with fear. I was surprised when we reached the station that these women just dashed out. I only learnt later that on the train they identified some men who were about to attack them.”

The seasoned TV journalist said the documentary had completely changed her perspective on the subject.

“These people are protected by the South African Constitution, but the attacks and harassments that continue to bedevil them are just shocking.”

There are no statistics in the documentary, just more and more accounts from lesbians who are under attack. The women who speak to Mabuse say they are threatened, abused and raped by men who think they can teach them a lesson, men who think they can “cure” them. They call it “corrective rape” .

There is, however, a spirit of defiance among some lesbians.Twenty-year-old Zukiswa Gaca can’t change who she is, but on a night in December 2009, she was raped by a man who tried to do just that. Two years later, she’s still on a quest for justice. She’s one of many South African lesbians under attack, but one of the few willing to risk pressing charges.

Maintenance payout beneficiaries battling

25/10/2011

The Star

Ali Mphaki

INLSA

THOUSANDS of beneficiaries have not been receiving their maintenance payouts on time because of technical glitches within the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, which handles such funds.

Not receiving the funds is causing untold misery to the beneficiaries. One such beneficiary is an Orlando West man, Sello Mamphiri*, and his two children, who claim they have gone for six months without receiving a cent of their maintenance money from the Family Court in Joburg.

Mamphiri, 47, who was divorced by his wife in 1998 and won custody of the children and is unemployed, has been receiving R600 a month for his two children, Oupa,* 22, and Papi*, 18, from his ex-wife, who is a teacher. Although the unemployed Mamphiri complains that the R600 is well below the inflation rate, he reckons it’s better than nothing.

“And when the maintenance money does not come, you can imagine the hardship we go through. What is frustrating is that my former wife has a garnishee order for our maintenance, and the money is deducted from her salary every month. Clearly something is wrong,” said Mamphiri.

He said he had been receiving the money on the last day of the month since 1998, but the situation changed two years ago, when, in some instances, he was told to return after a week or during the month.

“I remember, in one instance, I had to borrow money from a neighbour to catch a taxi to the city to fetch the maintenance money, only to be told I should come back after two weeks. This caused problems for me as I did not have money. I had to ask money from strangers. I was never so embarrassed,” he said.

Mamphiri is renting a backroom in Orlando West, where pays R250 a month. He shares the room with his younger son, and when the chips are down, they rely on the goodwill of his relatives, and his widowed and pensioned mother.

Mamphiri’s sons are still at college, and it pains him when he cannot provide for them.

“Right now I was told the money I was supposed to get for the past six months, I will only get at the end of October. How am I supposed to survive and what must my children eat while we’re waiting for the money? This is so unfair.”

Earlier this year, The Star reported about a possible scam within the Justice Department where some unscrupulous employees were cashing in on maintenance money. Mamphiri suspects the same could be happening in his case.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers Union confirmed to The Star that they continue to receive a lot of complaints from beneficiaries not receiving their maintenance money.

The Star saw dozens of sworn statements from beneficiaries who were not receiving their maintenance money, some dating back to 2008. Some beneficiaries testified that their money was withdrawn without their knowledge.

Sources in the department said the problem of beneficiaries not receiving their maintenance money was rife.

Gauteng department head Emily Dhlamini blamed the situation on a number of factors, among them the late submission of schedules by various employers paying into the maintenance fund.

“We are doing our best to ensure that all beneficiaries are receiving their money on time. Hence we’re working with several banks to effect an electronic transfer system where the beneficiaries can easily access the money from their bank accounts,” she said.

When Themba Godi, the chairman of the standing committee on public accounts, paid a visit to several court buildings in Gauteng in June, he decried the fact that people of Soweto still had to go to the city centre to access their maintenance money

Inquiry’s task to probe graft in deal

25/10/2011

The New Age

Thokozani Mtshali, Xolani Mbanjwa, Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

Supreme Court of Appeal Judge Willie Seriti has been appointed to chair the long-awaited commission of inquiry announced last month to probe the controversial multibillion rand arms deal.

Seriti also chairs the Independent Commission for Remuneration of Public Office Bearers, a body responsible for reviewing the salaries of Cabinet ministers, senior civil servants as well as judges.

The commission comprises two other justices, Willem van der Merwe, Deputy Judge President of the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria, and Francis Legodi, also a judge in the North Gauteng High Court.

Van der Merwe is familiar with some aspects of the arms deal case as he has previously presided over a case of the R200m assets claim against alleged middleman Fana Hlongwane.

But Menzi Simelane, boss of the National Prosecution Authority, last year abandoned a court action to attach Hlongwane’s assets, citing “lack of evidence”.

The three commissioners have been tasked with unearthing any wrongdoing in the arms deal contracts signed in 1999.

Zuma said he expected the inquiry to conclude its work within two years.

Presidential spokesperson Mac Maharaj said the long-awaited terms of reference for the inquiry would be made public today.

Depending on the terms of reference, the case may see political bigwigs with links to the ANC being called to give evidence.

Zuma has come under increasing pressure to either fight an impending court battle against Terry Crawford-Browne who wanted the Constitutional Court to compel government to institute the commission of inquiry.

Like Monday’s cabinet reshuffle, Zuma’s announcement last month that he would commission the inquiry came as a surprise, although many observers said that by announcing the probe, Zuma had avoided being forced to take action through the courts.

Moyo back in court

25/10/2011

The New Age

Sapa

Bongani Moyo and his three co-accused are expected to go on trial in the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday in connection with various armed robbery charges.

His co-accused are Leon Ncube, Khumbulani Sibanda and Thabani Sibanda.

Moyo made headlines when he walked out of the same court, while on crutches, on August 10. He was not locked in a cell or wearing shackles at the time. He was rearrested in Hillbrow, Johannesburg on August 28.

Moyo will also stand trial in November for the court escape.

Last month, he told the court he would conduct his own defence against the escape charge, and declined to apply for bail.

Moyo is accused of involvement in more than 35 bank robberies and various robberies.

The court, at the request of prosecutor Werner Gibson, ordered that Moyo remain shackled.

Mom tries to sell daughter’s virginity

25/10/2011

Sapa

She admits having the girl (13) model in her underwear for men

         A Utah woman accused of trying to sell her 13-year-old daughter’s virginity pleaded guilty to two sexual exploitation charges for having the girl model in her underwear for men.

The 33-year-old woman had also faced two first-degree felony counts of aggravated sex abuse of a child — and up to life in prison — but prosecutors agreed to drop those charges in exchange for her plea.

She now faces up to 30 years in prison at sentencing Dec. 5.

Authorities said the woman offered her daughter’s virginity to a  man in April in exchange for $10,000. Initially, the girl agreed to  the arrangement and modelled twice in a bra and underwear for the man. Police said the girl then changed her mind.

Her mother also tried to sell sexually explicit pictures of the girl to another man.

The woman’s boyfriend found text messages about the sale of the girl’s virginity on the woman’s cellphone.

He turned them over to police.

She was arrested in May.

Prosecutors said the men involved have not been charged.

The woman did not make a statement in court and her defence attorney refused to comment after the hearing.

She is not being named to avoid identifying her daughter

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