Zenizole Vena failed by government

Issued by Michele Clarke MP – DA Shadow Minister of Health
30 Sep 2022 in News

Please find attached soundbite by Michele Clarke MP.

This week, reports on the death of 15 year old, Zenizole Vena, from the Eastern Cape, rocked South Africans.

The DA calls on the Human Rights Commission to investigate. We will also write to the Police and Health Ministers to look into the matter.

She succumbed to her injuries after escaping from captivity where she was allegedly gang-raped. Her sad and gruesome ordeal was unfortunately prolonged by failures by our country’s health system when she was turned away by a clinic after the incident and later died at the Motherwell police station.

Unfortunately hers is not an isolated experience poor public service from hospitals and police stations. Our constitution makes it clear that no one should be turned away from receiving medical care.

How many times are South African’s going to be let down by this government. Every murder, rape or assault on women and children is one too many.

We cannot accept this as another tragedy and move on. We need to act decisively so there will never be another women or child that suffers the same fate as Zenizole.

The DA reiterates its call for better services at police stations across the country through adequate resourcing and staff training. Especially those who provide GBV-specific services. The expediting of forensic and DNA evidence required for convictions, to ensure victims receive justice is non-negotiable. Increasing the probability of being caught has been perceived as more effective in deterring crime than a harsher sentence.

GBV prevention systems should be enhanced and community support strategies strengthened. This will involve training of frontline workers and key stakeholders to facilitate effective GBV response, prevention, and risk mitigation.

GBV survivors must have access to comprehensive and well-coordinated response services. This entails access to health care services, legal services, emergency material support (shelter, household utensils, blankets, and mattresses etc.) and dignity kits (sanitary towels, hygiene kits, clothing, breastfeeding kits, kits for teenage girls, and post-delivery kits (for mother and baby) etc.

The issues of femicide, GBV and rape in our country requires a collaborative effort and we must hold police and health services accountable for their failures.