Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) welcomes the judgment of the Pretoria High Court handed down on 17 October, which sentenced convicted child rapist, Nicholas Ninow, to life imprisonment. Ninow was also sentenced to 5 years for drug possession and defeating the ends of justice, which will run concurrently with the life sentence.
Crime Statistics for the 2018/2019 financial year indicate that incidents of rape and other forms of gender-based violence have substantially increased. In many instances the victims of these heinous crimes are children.
According to the statistics, of the 52 420 sexual offences that were reported 46.5% were against children.
It was barely a month ago that the Constitutional Court handed down its now infamous judgment decrying the use of corporal punishment and acknowledged the particular vulnerability of children in society and their right to be free from all forms of violence.
The sentence given to Ninow should be welcomed for a number of reasons. First, this was a particularly heinous crime given that it was an attack on a minor (she was only seven years old at the time) and that it was premeditated. Second, the accused showed no remorse for his actions and sought to evade accountability on the basis of his abuse of drugs and alcohol.
Another significant aspect of the ruling is that Ninow’s name will be added to the sex offenders’ registry.
More importantly, however, Sonke hopes that the speed at which the trial was concluded will encourage other survivors of GBV to come forward and make use of the justice system.
Research indicates that only 1 in 9 survivors of GBV report these crimes to the authorities. This is largely because of the trust deficit between survivors of GBV and the criminal justice system.
When all stakeholders in the criminal justice system play their role effectively it enhances public confidence in the justice system and the possibility of healing for survivors, their families and the broader community.
Sonke notes however, that in the vast majority of cases of GBV there are frequent and chronic delays. The speed at which the Ninow matter was resolved and the professionalism displayed by all stakeholders should become a template for all cases going forward.
This will ensure the rights to dignity, equality and freedom from violence which are constitutionally enshrined are protected. In this sense the kind of justice meted out in the Ninow case should become the rule rather than an exception.
For media enquiries, please contact:
- Nonhlanhla Skosana , CEM Manager, Sonke Gender Justice, 0789715477 or email@example.com.
- Bafana Khumalo, Acting Co-Director, Sonke Gender Justice, 082 578 4479 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Given Sigauqwe, CSI Unit Manager, Sonke Gender Justice, 0739882870 or email@example.com.