Saturday, December 1, 2012

Ceres Opening

We had a great morning in Ceres with Roman's Pizza sponsor, Bonnie De Klerk and a surprise visit by General Lamoer. This special event was the opening of the child-friendly room at Ceres FCS unit. This unit is situated in a high risk area with a lot of abuse because of substance abuse.
“The faces of sexual offenders should be put on lamp posts”, were the words of WC Provincial Commissioner, General Arno Lamoer, at the opening of a child-friendly room in Ceres. He stated that the Western Cape has a “Hall of shame for drunken driving”, but it is more important to make the sexual offenders known to the public. Actioning a sexual offences register will also help in the fight against child abuse.
The opening of the Matla A Bana child-friendly room at Ceres Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit was one the many projects implemented Matla A Bana during the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children Campaign during this week. This is one of the first facilities of its kind in the rural Western Cape countryside and the child-friendly assessment room will create a safe environment for children to disclose in and be assisted. According to General Lamoer, child abuse rates here are much higher than in the city, due to the excessive substance abuse in these areas. This is the ninth facility implemented by Matla A Bana in the Western Cape, with the last two being the victim room at Paarl Hospital and a reporting facility at Stellenbosch FCS unit, which was also launched this week.
“We must stop campaigning and live the lifestyle of making the world of women and children better”, Genl Lamoer challenged companies and charities, whilst applauding Matla A Bana for doing just that. He also challenged men in South Africa to stand up. According to him 98% of the perpetrators are men and it is time that men stand up, admit that they are abusers and say sorry. “How is it possible that an adult male can take off the nappy of a one year old child and rape her?”, is the kind of question he asks every day when he reads about these cases in his daily crime stats reports. Even though he is an experienced police officer, he is still sickened by what men do to children. He put action to his sentiments this year when he placed a special group, “Men for change” in charge of the SAPS 16 Days projects.
The Ceres FCS unit serves a vast rural community stretching as far as the Koue Bokkeveld on the one side and the Warm Bokkeveld on the other. This unit has some of the highest incidences of sexual offences against children in the Western Cape, but also some of the highest successes. The FCS units in the Western Cape were responsible for securing 39 life sentences this year against sexual perpetrators.
Matla A Bana was founded by ex-hostage, Monique Strydom, who applauded this special police unit for the work they are doing. Not only for arresting perpetrators, but for taking such special care of the child victims. The officers of the Ceres unit played an active part in creating the facility by doing the building alternations to create the room themselves. They were however strapped for funding to finish the facility and this is when Matla A Bana with the help of Roman’s Pizza stepped in. Matla A Bana will be opening an eight facility at Muizenberg FCS unit early in the New Year. This facility serves a large portion the Southern Suburbs.
Whilst the police and organisations like Matla A Bana, will work effortlessly to stop the abuse of children, this will only happen once men take responsibility. If you are a man and in a leadership position and would like to join the campaign to stop child abuse, you can contact Matla A Bana on