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'State of the Nation should tackle rape'

Rights groups say President Jacob Zuma must use his SoNA to outline concrete plans to tackle rape.

Rights groups say President Jacob Zuma must use his SoNA on Thursday to outline concrete plans to tackle sexual violence in South Africa. Picture: GCIS

JOHANNESBURG - Groups working to stop rape said President Jacob Zuma must use Thursday's State of the Nation Address (SoNA) to outline concrete plans to tackle violence against women.

On Monday, reports of more rapes were received after the national outrage at the gang-rape, mutilation and subsequent death of Anene Booysen on 2 February.

The 17-year-old teenager was left for dead in an industrial area in the Overberg town of Bredasdorp, and died later in hospital.

Three men have since been arrested for the crimes.

The National Working Group on Sexual Offences' spokesperson, Lisa Vetten, said she does not want just words on Thursday.

"I do not want him to express shock, anger and outrage. What I think one would want him to say is to start outlining a comprehensive programme around what government is going to do."

She said she wants hard and fast numbers from Zuma.

"What are we going to see in the budget to ensure that services are provided to victims, and what are we going to do to increase the number of services in South Africa?"

While the Sonke Gender Justice Network's Mbuyiselo Botha said Zuma should set up a commission into sexual violence.

"So that he is able to put his money where his mouth is."

Botha said the president should not simply read a speech written for him.

"It (Zuma's speech) should not only be speaking, it should also be accompanied by concrete, practical action."

But the ANC Women's League (ANCWL) said it was not willing to preempt Zuma's speech at this stage.