Outrage over teen's gruesome rape

Johannesburg - The rape and gruesome mutilation of a teenage girl in Bredasdorp has sparked a rare outburst of anger across the nation.

Anene Booysen, 17, was found disembowelled at a construction site in at the weekend and later died in hospital.

She was reportedly lured away from her friends by a group of men and it is suspected she was gang-raped, but police said on Thursday they were still investigating.

The case has shocked the nation where tales of sexual violence are commonplace.

"The whole nation is outraged at this extreme violation and destruction of a young human life," President Jacob Zuma said in a statement on Thursday.

"This act is shocking, cruel and most inhumane. It has no place in our country," he said.

"Impose the harshest sentences on such crimes, as part of a concerted campaign to end this scourge in our society," said Zuma in a statement .

"We must never allow ourselves to get used to these acts of base criminality to our women and children."

The Democratic Alliance described the attack as one of the most gruesome acts of sexual violence the province had seen, according to Sapa.

DA spokesperson Liza Albrecht said it would do all it could to ensure the police and judiciary achieved a speedy prosecution.

Albrecht said DA MPs went to visit Booysen's family to show their support on Thursday morning.

"The DA is doing everything it can to support the family of the victim and will continue to do so this, including the arrangement of the funeral next week Saturday," said Albrecht.

Official statistics show that around 65 000 sexual offences were committed in South Africa last year alone.

But police estimate that only one in 36 rape cases get reported.

Has to stop

The Progressive Women's Movement of SA said it was shocked by the number of women being raped in the country.

"The rape of women now seems to be the order of the day... we are even more perplexed that statistics indicate a low rate of conviction of the rapists," said spokesperson Zingiswa Losi.

The organisation praised Booysen for identifying her attackers before she died in hospital.

The Cape Argus cited a witness saying that the teenager's body was cut open from her stomach through to her genital area, and exposed her internal organs.

Booysen's 22-year-old ex-boyfriend was arrested in connection with the crime.

He appeared in the Bredasdorp Magistrate's Court on Tuesday on charges of rape and murder.

He would appear again on 12 February.

A second man, aged 21, was arrested in Bredasdorp on Wednesday night.

Studies have found that more than one quarter of South African men admitted to raping a woman or girl.

Government spokesperson Pumza Williams said the "frequent occurrence of these brutal acts is unacceptable and will not be tolerated. This has to stop”.

Positive action

The Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) said it was satisfied with the progress police had made so far.

"The arrest of two men in connection with this vicious crime should serve as a lesson to rapists and murderers, whose aim is to infect our societies with despicable evil," said Popcru spokeswoman Theto Mahlakoana.

Lead SA said people should convert their anger over the incident into positive action.

"It is necessary to demand a series of actions including no bail for rape suspects, harsher and mandatory sentences for rapists, a speedier justice system and more easily-accessible resources to assist victims," said spokesperson Pippa Rowles.

The African National Congress Women's League said it would call for a national commission of enquiry into gender-based violence, following the attack.

"We will be calling for a National Commission of Enquiry into rape and gender-based violence in order to develop a national strategy to eradicate rape from South African society," said spokeswoman Troye Martins.

She said the league's president Angie Motshekga would also meet with relevant stakeholders in government and civil society in an attempt to curb the violent crime.

An "appalled and disgusted" Cosatu has called for protests against rape following the incident.

"When a very similar incident occurred in India recently, there was a massive outbreak of protest and mass demonstrations in the streets," Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said on Wednesday, referring to the December gang rape of a student on a bus in New Delhi that shocked the world.

"We must show the world that South Africans are no less angry at such crimes and make an equally loud statement of disgust, and protest in the streets," he said.