Witness protection does not protect young victims, says Cheryl Zondi

“When a young person helps clean up the country by getting rapists off the street, it is then the responsibility of the state to protect that person and that person’s rights. It is neither just, nor is it constitutional, to ask the youth to drop out of school, go somewhere far away and forget their identity… Dropping off the face of the earth and cutting all communication with family members sounds more to me like punishment.

“I want there to be a [shift] in this country. Women and young women, please stop blaming yourself for the evil acts that have nothing to do with you,” Zondi said.

Public protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane said she had scheduled a meeting with the ministers of justice and police following her meeting with Zondi for an “immediate intervention”.

“The matter is so serious and scary. I think it’s urgent,” she said.

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