Minister for women in the presidency Bathabile Dlamini urged communities at a funeral service on Sunday not to defend sex offenders.
She was addressing mourners at the funeral service for seven members of the Khoza family — three women and four children — who were killed and buried under piles of sand at a house in Vlakfontein‚ south of Johannesburg last week.
Dlamini said it hurt to note that the victims were suspected to have been harmed by someone they regarded as family. SA‚ she said‚ had just held its first conference against women abuse and appealed to men to help fight the scourge.
“Fathers please live up to your responsibilities‚ women please stop withdrawing cases of sexual offences‚ we allow offenders to be arrested on Friday only to be released on Monday‚” said Dlamini. She decried silence among men.
“Women are harbouring partners who have abused our daughters. How long are we going to remain quiet when we hear of abuse in churches‚” asked Dlamini. She called on women to stand up against abuse and stop defending sex offenders.
She also appealed for the formation of a continental sex offenders’ register which she said would go a long way towards limiting the entry of convicted sex offenders into SA.
The funeral was attended by provincial and regional government leaders. The bodies of the deceased were brought to the venue briefly before the burial owing to their state of decomposition.
They were laid to rest at Mountain Rise cemetery‚ shortly after police confirmed that two men had been arrested for the murders. One of them‚ aged 27‚ was caught in Mpumalanga and the other‚ aged 61‚ in Dobsonville‚ Soweto.
One of the men is facing an additional charge of rape. They will appear in the Lenasia Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
We reported earlier that Nomfundo Khoza had sent frantic WhatsApp messages to her family moments before she died — but when they phoned back there was no answer.
“We could not understand her WhatsApp messages‚” said a relative‚ who did not want to be named. “It was something about her dying and being in danger. We called her and she did not pick up. That’s when we felt something was really wrong.”
A stench noticed by neighbours led police to the bodies of the three women and four children‚ inside the house on Monday‚ October 29.