Mthethwa: Child abuse highest in WC

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has expressed concern over the high number of child abuse cases.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa. Picture: GCIS/SAPA.

CAPE TOWN - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa says abuse against women and children is by far still the highest in the Western Cape.

Mthethwa addressed the media in Mitchells Plain on Wednesday on issues ranging from cleaning up the police force to child abuse and gang violence.

He expressed dismay following the attack on a nine-year-old Delft girl who was raped and set alight last weekend.

A 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the crime.

Mthethwa believes something is terribly wrong with the society in which children are constantly abused.

He adds these vicious crimes must be addressed.

"This is one phenomenon in the Western Cape we must confront. It happens throughout the country, but with children in particular we have seen this phenomenon growing over a period of time in this province."

The nine-year-old was found on a field near the R300 the day after she was raped and set alight.

In another incident, a 14-month-old toddler died after he was allegedly buried alive by his father.

There have also been several incidents of child killings in Galeshewe.

A man will appear in court on Friday for killing his one-year-old son and setting the boy alight.

Another man is accused of raping his six-week-old niece will be back in court early next month.

Meanwhile, several Northern Cape non-governmental organisations say small changes such as cleaning up open spaces could go a long way in protecting children.

Childline Northern Cape's Naomi Edwards says, "What is government doing with all these open spaces that are not being cleaned or taken care of? They need to take care of them and make sure that they are safe places and the community also needs to take responsibility."