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#AmINext: Thousands sign petitions for death penalty, state of emergency in SA

By Tuesday morning, a change.org petition gained 228,603 signatures.

Uyinene Mrwetyana. Picture: Supplied.

CAPE TOWN – More than 200,000 people have signed a petition calling for the death penalty to be implemented in South Africa.

By Tuesday morning, a change.org petition gained 228,603 signatures. Another petition was launched which called on Parliament to declare gender-based violence a state of emergency in the country. This petition received over 120,000 signatures.

On Monday, South Africans were outraged after learning that missing UCT student Uyinene Mrwetyana was raped and murdered at the Post Office in Claremont. The 19-year-old woman’s body was found in Khayelitsha. The suspect, a Post Office employee, appeared in court on Monday. He was charged with her murder and rape after he confessed.

On the same day, a six-year-old child was abducted in front of her school in Vanderbijlpark. The abductors of Amy-Lee De Jager had demanded a ransom of R2 million. On Tuesday morning, her family confirmed that she was found unharmed.

* Kidnapped Amy-Lee De Jager (6) found unharmed

Other cases include that of a 19-year-old woman who has been identified as Jesse Hess. She was murdered in her Parow home. Hess’ grandfather, aged 85, was also murdered. Hess was only 19 and a youth leader at a local Cape Town church. No arrests have been made and a police investigation continues. It’s reported that Hess was found on her bed, while her grandfather was found tied to a toilet.

The murder of South African boxing champion Leighandre “Baby Lee” Jegels also caused outrage. On Monday, her police officer boyfriend, who was accused of her murder, died after he sustained critical injuries in a road accident.

On Sunday, the body of a 14-year-old girl was found in her grandmother’s backyard in Cape Town. No arrests were made and the investigation into her murder continues.

Last week activists gathered outside a Cape court where Kyle Ruiters appeared for the murder of Lynette Volschenk. They called for no bail after she was found murdered in her flat. Her body had been cut into pieces and placed in black bags. Ruiters was due in court again on Monday and will remain in police custody.

‘AM I NEXT?’

South African women have questioned whether they would be next as the list of women who are raped and murdered grow.

Women took to social media and shared their concerns under the hashtag #AmINext. Others have called for a shutdown across the country.

South Africans have called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to take action.

FACTS & FIGURES

At least 35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or sexual violence by a non-partner, according to UN Women.

It is estimated that of the 87,000 women who were intentionally killed in 2017 globally, more than half (50,000- 58%) were killed by intimate partners or family members, meaning that 137 women across the world are killed by a member of their own family every day.

More than a third (30,000) of the women intentionally killed in 2017 were killed by their current or former intimate partner.

Adult women account for 51% of all human trafficking victims detected globally. Women and girls together account for 71%, with girls representing nearly three out of every four child trafficking victims. Nearly three out of every four trafficked women and girls are trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

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