By Simangele Mzizi
The South African Department of Justice and Constitutional Development has confirmed that the department will meet with Cape Town gay rights NGO Luleki Sizwe for talks about the organisation’s petition calling for government to have corrective rape declared a hate crime and combated.
Over 1 million signatures supporting the petition have been collected worldwide, also calling for the harshest sentences to perpetrators of corrective rape and that government acknowledges the existence of corrective rape which, it says the government seems to deny at present.
“We will meet with Luleki Sizwe to discuss the matter. I called them last week to enquire about the logistical aspects of this meeting. They indicated that they would like the meeting to take place in Cape Town. In all likelihood the meeting will take place in Cape Town”, Tlali Tlali spokesperson for the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development said.
Meanwhile Ndumie Funda of Luleki Sizwe confirmed in her blog that the meeting with the justice ministry is “imminent” stating that Lulekisizwe has already received a phone call from the justice ministry enquiring about the venue for the meeting.
Funda stated that Lulekisizwe will spend the month of February writing a detailed corrective rape intervention plan including proposals to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the South African Police Service (SAPS), the justice ministry and the Legislature.
She anticipates that between 7 and 9 March Lulekisiwe will meet its lawyers and various officials in the Justice Ministry, the NPA, and SAPS where the corrective rape intervention plan will be discussed before a press conference on 14 March with Minister Jeff Hadebe present.
Corrective rape is defined as a criminal practice, whereby men rape lesbian women, as a means of “curing” their sexual orientation.
Funda further states that on 16 – 18 March protests will be held outside the South African parliament as the corrective rape action plan will be handed to South African parliamentarians.
“We have a constitutional lawyer who is helping us to draft a bill which we will deliver to parliamentarians, so, that is where Luleki Sizwe and the call for corrective rape to be declared a hate-crime, stands at the moment”, she said.Luleki Sizwe has urged people to support and sign the petition at www.change.org until the “corrective rape epidemic” is finally taken seriously by the South African government.
“Unless those of us who can, speak up for those who cannot, men will continue to pander their egos and will continue to ruin the lives of our mothers, our daughters and our sisters. All those who do nothing about it are just as guilty as they are”, Funda stated.
Tlali had stated previously that the justice ministry views this matter (corrective rapes) in a serious light.
“Whether it is labelled as corrective rape or something else, it does not detract from the fact that it is rape, punishable under our law regardless of what motivates those behind it to do so, we have interacted with the National Prosecuting Authority and have requested them to look into these cases”, Tlali said.Luleki Sizwe, the volunteer anti-rape advocacy group was formed by Ndumie Funda in 2007 after both her best friend and fiancée were the victims of corrective rape. It aims to provide support to victims of corrective rape and to lobby the South African government to combat corrective rapes.