New court to speed up rape cases

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

A new children's court was officially opened in Durban yesterday to hasten the handling of rape cases against children.

The court has 19 close-circuit television (CCTV) cameras that have been provided by the KwaZulu-Natal department of justice and constitutional development to deal with the backlog in the cases.

The regional head of provincial justice and constitutional development, Brigitte Shabalala, said the cameras would be spread throughout the province because child rape cases were rife in many areas.

She said the new children's court was being opened as part of their attempts to ensure that justice was not only seen to be done, but was actually done to help the vulnerable.

The initiative was spearheaded by the KZN Network on Violence against Women, the South African Police Service, the provincial department of justice and Transnet Port Terminals.

The initiative also involves a bus shuttle around Durban, stopping at strategic points where organisations will provide information, legal advice and assistance to women and girls.

Shabalala said the new cameras would go a long way in speeding up conclusion of rape cases, especially against young children.

Women rights activist Cookie Edwards said violence against women and girls needed to be tackled at all levels.

The effects of this type of violence "reach into our homes, communities and our workplaces", Edwards said.