Speaker of KwaZulu Natal legislature in South Africa, Hon. Boyce Nontembeko, has advised African Parliamentarians to legislate strong laws that would enable successful prosecution of rape cases in the court of law, with the view to bringing suspects to book.
Current legislations in most African countries, especially Nigeria, make it practically impossible to establish a case of rape or securing justice for the victims.
Nontembeko, while addressing Journalists in Abuja, Nigeria, on Friday, said the scourge of rape and other gender based violence would be tamed, only with strong legislations, like the Hate Crimes Bill of the South African Parliament.
The woman parliamentarian, who delivered a paper titled ‘The Challenge of Implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) During the Pandemic,’ at the on-going 51st Conference of Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA), Africa region, noted that the Covid-19 pandemic had serious effect on the implementation of SDGs.
“We must unite and enact laws that will work for our own people, especially, on the issue of gender. Rape is amongst those effects of the Covid-19 that might be implicit because it affects gender. When I spoke about Gender Based Violence, we are also including rape.
“That is why in South Africa, we have put forth the Hate Crimes Bill. Although the Bill does not only speak about rape, it also speaks about the murder of people, because of correctional rape or because of their own sexuality, so I think that countries in the Commonwealth need to put stronger or more effort on understanding that, for as long as we leave the issues that relate to violence that is sexually motivated, there is no real hope for the development of Africa.
“So, speaking about rape, it must be a priority of Commonwealth to end gender- based violence and rape, and we have to also, within our own criminal justice laws, be explicit in how we determine the sanctions and strong punishment for rape, including the domestic violence that is perpetrated against women and children in own country and other members of the Commonwealth,” she said