South Africa could by the end of 2017, be recording its highest cases of murder rates since the end of apartheid-era having recorded more than sixty child murder cases in one of its provinces, Western Cape.
This is according to a report by a non-governmental organisation in the Western Cape which put child murder record at about 66 in 2017.
Non-governmental organisations in the Western Cape have put the number of child murders in the province revealing a horrific trend of how communities and families are torn apart by violence in South Africa.
Joanie Fredericks of Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum raised concern at the growing rate of child murder in the area and how little or no effort has been made by various security agencies in the country to curb the mayhem.
” We all know about gangsterism, drug and alcohol abuse, unemployment and poverty. But this new phenomenon of raping and killing women and children is unheard of even in Mitchells Plain.
This report comes amid mounting pressure on the South African government and the state security to protect the lives of women and young ones.
In June this year, the Western Cape recorded its twenty-second case of female child murder following the death of a 23-year-old mother and her two-year-old daughter who was murdered in Cape Town over the weekend.
A month before, Courtney Pieters, a 3-year-old girl from a suburb of Cape Town, went missing. Her body was found nine days later, buried in a shallow grave about two-thirds of a mile from her home. She was reportedly raped twice.
This, according to President Jacob who visited the family of the deceased, is the saddest incidence ever.
Narrating her traumatic experience when she was part of those in search for three-year-old Courtney Pieters for nine days before being found dead, Fredericks said that they kept requesting the police to search for the Pieters in a room where she was eventually later found.
Dr Robert McDonald who is the Head of the Department of Western Cape Social Development also slammed the shocking rise of female chile murder in the province saying its unheard of.
“I think the Social Development Department in the province is at the front line of addressing child abuse, neglect and the risk of children being murdered,” he said, pointing out that there are presently 35 000 children in the department’s system and that social workers are always overwhelmed with enormous loads of cases.
McDonald also confirmed that the department is performing a careful analysis to determine where its systems have gaps and how they can improve it.
Over 500 children die in the province every year with about 60% of the child death being related to natural causes while the other 40% is due to unnatural causes.
Explaining further the nature of child death in the Province, Dr Robert McDonald said the pattern of unnatural causes tend to be more around abuse and neglect for children in their early years.
“One of the things that has helped us a lot has been the pilot of the child death review panel in the Western Cape which is the first in the country. The data that we’ve got from that is helping us get a clear picture of what is going on with these child deaths.”
He went on to say that the department is seeing a major increase in the number of homicides, mostly in relation to gang violence in the age group 10 to 17 years-old.
In 2016, the United Nations Children’s Funds (Unicef) named South Africa as the worst country in the world to raise school-going children aged between five and fourteen.
According to police figures, each year 800 to 900 children are murdered in South Africa, a nation of 54 million people.