CAPE TOWN, April 4 (Xinhua) -- With child abuse continuing to plague the country, the South African government on Thursday vowed to eradicate child abuse and urged the public to join the fight.
Communities should be vigilant and expose abusers as deafening silence could only serve to encourage these brutal acts against children, government spokesperson Phumla Williams said.
It is crucial that parents and society be cognizant of the roles that they need to play in protecting children and in exposing any suspected child abuse activities or child exploitation, she said.
This came after a South African court on Wednesday meted out life imprisonment to a man convicted of abusing and murdering his former girlfriend's son in 2016.
The Gauteng High Court also handed out a 20-year sentence to the child's mother.
The two convicts were found guilty of murdering the child who suffered a broken elbow, broken femur, injured ribs and second degree burns to 60 percent of his body. The barbaric act sent shockwaves throughout the nation at that time.
The government welcomed the harsh sentences imposed on the convicts, Williams said.
"As a nation, we have a right to be outraged by these kinds of barbaric acts of abuse against innocent children and government applauds the criminal justice system for ensuring that perpetrators of these heinous crimes receive harsh sentences," Williams said.
The government takes the issue of child abuse and neglect very seriously, she said.
In South Africa, which is among the countries that have the highest crime rate in the world, 800 to 900 children are murdered every year, according to police.
The United Nations has ranked South Africa as among the world's 10 most violent nations.
To eradicate child abuse, South Africa has put in place child protection mechanisms such as legislation and international instruments that the country has ratified as a commitment to the protection of children's rights.