/ 26 November 2007

Rasuge remembered at start of 16 Days of Activism

Constable Francis Rasuge was murdered due to her refusal to be a slave in a relationship she no longer wanted, North West Premier Edna Molewa said on Sunday.

Speaking at the launch of the 16 Days of Activism campaign against abuse in Maboloka near Brits, Molewa said Rasuge typified the pain of being a woman in South Africa.

Rasuge was last seen alive on August 27 2004 with William Nkuna, her boyfriend, outside a hair salon in Temba, north of Pretoria. Nkuna was sentenced to life imprisonment for her murder. Rasuge’s body has never been found.

Molewa said some men continued to believe that women should either die or vanish from the face of the earth if they did not submit to them.

”I call upon that person to remember that he or she is also a human being … I call upon that person to rise to the occasion and let the humanity coursing through his or her veins dictate the right course of action, and that is to expose those who have deprived Francis Rasuge of her rights as a South African.”

Molewa said the country would never be free until women and children could walk, talk and dress freely without any fear of rape or molestation.

”South Africa will never be free until women and children can express themselves in song and dance, not worried that they shall be inviting unwanted approaches and belligerent advances,” the premier said.

She said however that there was hope.

”There is hope in that we are now seeing men leading the battle against the harassment, abuse and oppression of women.

In Mpumalanga thousands of men marched to hand a memorandum to the provincial safety and security minister at the Nelspruit Magistrate’s Court.

In the memorandum, the marchers demanded that all police stations be equipped to deal with domestic violence and that police officers be trained to deal with its complexities. They also demanded that perpetrators of domestic violence not be granted bail.

Limpopo Premier Sello Moloto was among the men who marched through the streets of Polokwane to mark the beginning of the campaign.

In his speech Moloto highlighted challenges facing the government regarding violence against women and children. The province was battling with assault, rape and murder. Seven of 13 children who had gone missing in Modimolle in the last four years were recently found raped and murdered.

The Young Communist League challenged women, men and children to actively play a role against abuse aimed at vulnerable sections of society, especially women and children.

Spokesperson Castro Ngobese said abusers had been ”shaped” by apartheid to treat and think of women and children as second-class citizens.

”Violence against women and children should be located and understood against the background of socio-economic conditions in our country and the growing gap between the rich and the poor.” – Sapa