UKUTHWALA NOT A DEFENCE AGAINST RAPE OF A CHILD
On 23 March 2015 the Western Cape High Court gave judgment in the matter of S v Jezile, the "first Ukuthwala conviction".
Jezile, who had been found guilt of abduction, rape and trafficking of a girl who was 14 years old at the time of the offences, had appealed his conviction and sentence to the High Court. As part of his defence and as a ground for appeal, Jezile stated that he had acted in accordance with the customary practice of Ukuthwala.
The Western Cape High Court invited organisations, including the Centre for Child Law, as amici curiae to assist in determining what the practice of Ukuthwala entailed and whether it could validly be raised as a defence against criminal charges of abduction, rape and trafficking.
The Centre for Child Law made submissions pertaining to the need to protect the girl child as entailed in the Constitution, the Children's Act, the Sexual Offences Act and international instruments. The Centre for Child Law welcomes the High Court's dismissal of Jezile's defence and the confirmation of the 22 year prison sentence that had been imposed on him by the court a quo.
The Centre is, however, of the view that the Western Cape High Court could have been stronger in condemning the practice of Ukuthwala where children are concerned.
For more information see below:
High Court Judgment_23.03.2015