President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally broken his silence on the brutal murders of UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana, female boxing champion Leighandre Jegels and Northwood Primary pupil Janika Mallo, saying South Africans should hang their heads in shame.
“The murder of these two young women, one at the hands of a stranger and the other killed by a man who was reportedly her boyfriend, remain a stark reminder that the women of South Africa are not safe, either in their homes or in the streets.
“This is a very dark period for us as a country. The assaults, rapes and murders of South African women are a stain on our national conscience,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
He further added that: “We have just commemorated Women’s Month. Sixty three years after the women of 1956 marched for the right to live in freedom, women in this country live in fear – not of the apartheid police but of their brothers, sons, fathers and uncles. We should all hang our heads in shame”
Ramaphosa commended the country’s law enforcement authorities for their action which led to the arrests of two suspects linked to Mrwetyana and Jegels’ murders and sent his deepest condolences to the victims’ families.
The president confirmed he will be meeting with the SAPS leadership later on Tuesday to be briefed on steps being taken to deal with the violence.
Ramaphosa’s reaction comes after various reports emerged over the weekend and Monday over the brutal murders of the three young women.
On Friday, news emerged of female boxing champion Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels’ murder allegedly at the hands of her police officer boyfriend.
The suspect died in hospital following a car accident.
A few days later, reports confirmed the brutal rape and murder of University of Cape Town student Uyinene Mrwetyana, allegedly at the hands of a Post Office employee.
Mrwetyana went missing after leaving her off-campus residence in Claremont on August 24 and was last seen in Mowbray. Her disappearance sparked outcry on social media and vigils being held for her safe return.
Almost a week later, a man was arrested over her disappearance and at his court appearance on Monday, prosecutor Nomnikelo Konisi revealed chilling details of Mrwetyana’s rape and murder and told the court that the accused had led investigators to where he had dumped her body in Lingelethu West.
On the same day, reports emerged of the brutal murder of Mallo, whose half-naked body was discovered in her grandmother’s backyard on Sunday.
Mallo, 14, was found with her head bashed in and “her brain leaking” from the left side of her face shortly after 8am.
The girl’s dungarees had been pulled down, and it is understood she had been raped before being bashed with a concrete block over the head.
All three deaths sparked massive outcry on social media and saw the #AmINext trend for hours on Monday.