NATIONAL NEWS - Minister in the Presidency Susan Shabangu on Thursday welcomed two recent court rulings that upheld the rights of women and children.
They sent a message that cultural practices could no longer be used to violate the rights of women and children and perpetuate inequalities, she said.
"On the other, this serves as a deterrent to other perpetrators that the arm of the law is not short and time will not erase the crime committed, and that they will ultimately face the might of the law."
Courts on Monday ruled in a case of ukuthwala and another involving former tennis champion Bob Hewitt.
In the ukuthwala case, a full bench of the Western Cape High Court rejected an appeal by Mvumeleni Jezile, 33, who was last year sentenced in the Wynberg Regional Court to 22 years imprisonment after he was convicted of three counts of rape, one count of human trafficking, and one count of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
In 2009, he forcefully married a 14-year-old girl from the Eastern Cape.
In the second case, the High Court in Johannesburg sitting in Palm Ridge found former Grand Slam champion Hewitt guilty of raping and sexually assaulting three girls he coached 30 years ago. Sentencing would take place on April 17.
Shabangu said government was pleased that justice had been served and law enforcement agencies had, through hard work and dedication, proven that government would not tolerate abuse and violence against women and children.
"South Africans can and must do more to stop rape, human trafficking and all forms of abuse. Together, with government we must transform existing gender relations in our families and communities."
Victims of violence and abuse, including harmful cultural practices, were encouraged to call the social development department's 24-hour call centre on 0800-428-428. It was dedicated to providing support and counselling to victims of gender-based violence.