Limpopo vows to tackle rape and abuse

The province has seen an increase in arrests and sent a strong warning to any potential perpetrators.

FILE: A rape suspect is arrested, 29 November 2013. Picture: Supplied.

JOHANNESBURG - Limpopo police have sent a stern warning to rapists this weekend, saying they will not tolerate any more cases where women and children are raped and killed.

At the same time, the province is celebrating the arrests of more than 120 suspects this month alone.

Police say 82 suspects are facing rape charges while an additional 42 wanted rape suspects have been taken into custody during this month's 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign.

Eleven suspects were also detained for child neglect, with the youngest victim being a 6-month-old baby.

The police's Hangwani Mulaudzi says they are "very happy" with the progress.

Limpopo has seen a spate of child rapes in the past year and Mulaudzi says they are taking these crimes very seriously.

"Hopefully, this will send a stern warning to would-be rapists that, in Limpopo, we are taking this matter very seriously and we will do everything in our power to make sure they are put behind bars."

As the province's police celebrate the multiple arrests, the Department for Women, Children and people with Disabilities is calling on the Justice Department to hand down the harshest punishments for those convicted.

The ministry's Motalatale Modiba says Minister Lulu Xingwana is urging South Africans to help stop the growing tide of abuse in the country.

"We obviously want to see justice done and we hope that the criminal justice system will ensure that the perpetrators get the harshest sentences given the kind of crimes they have committed."

He adds, "The minister has called on community members to ensure that they stand up against any forms of abuse that manifest and make sure they do not look away and report any forms of abuse."

In December last year, three men - including a soldier - were arrested for allegedly raping six girls aged between three and seven in the Letsitele village.

In Maake, a father was arrested after allegedly raping his seven-year-old daughter.

A 16-year old girl was abducted and gang raped in the same village, allegedly by three men.

The police say the crime will not go without very harsh sentences.