2000

UNITED DEMOCRATIC MOVEMENT

MEDIA RELEASE


INTERNATIONAL DAY OF INNOCENT CHILDREN VICTIMS OF AGGRESSION

STATEMENT ISSUED BY ANNELIZÉ VAN WYK, MP
UDM ACTING SECRETARY GENERAL

The significance of this day in the current South African context must not be underestimated. Internationally children remain the victims of aggression in areas of conflict, the child soldiers of Sierra Leone and other African conflict areas come to mind.

Let us not forget that locally, our children and youth are exposed to unacceptably high levels of violence and crime. Recently several children died in an attack on a Chatsworth club, a student was shot at the University of Durban Westville, and another was shot during unrest in Alexandra. We
have in recent times seen violence at schools in Potchefstroom, Kwa Thema and the Cape Flats.

The Cape Flats, as well as other large communities across the country, is home to thousands of gangs. These gangs are guilty of armed robbery, assault, murder and rape on a huge scale; the victims are often children. In addition, countless children are victims in turf wars between gangs.

South Africa is also not a safe place for our daughters with the rape of minors at horrific levels. The UDM recently exposed that in one area, Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage, in one year (1998) there were 867 reported cases of rape of minors. Less than half of the cases went to court; only 7.7% resulted in guilty verdicts! 800 reported rapists of children, in that area alone, are still walking free.

As South Africans we should do more to ensure that our country is a safe and productive environment for our children. As citizens we deserve better service from Government with regard to this issue specifically. If the current situation is the foundation that we are laying, we cannot expect our children to build a democratic, peaceful and productive South Africa in the future. Let us not be the generation that is remembered for our selfishness, who would not leave behind the inheritance of democracy and human rights that we held in our hands.

Enquiries:
Annelizé van Wyk, MP
UDM Acting Secretary General

Pretoria
04 June 2000