The United Democratic Movement Women’s Organisation (Udemwo) has welcomed the life sentence imposed on Christopher Panayiotou, the man who hired an assassin to kill his wife, and the extension of former Paralympian Oscar Pistorius’ sentence.
The court rulings occurred on the eve of the start of the 16 days of activism against women and child abuse, which is an annual nationwide campaign meant to draw public awareness to this scourge.
Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa recently said the South Africa femicide rate was five times more than the global rate and that a women was murdered in South Africa every hour. About half of them were killed by their intimate partners. But research by rights watchdog Africa Check showed that a woman was being murdered every four hours in South Africa.
Udemwo secretary-general Thandi Nontenja said Jayde Panayiotou’s murder was a typical example of how South African women were under siege from those closest to them. Now that the case had come to an end after having dragged on for several years, the organisation was happy about the outcome.
“It is our plea that all cases relating to women and children abuse be prioritised within the entire justice system – from the police to corrections,” said Nontenja.
Udemwo, also welcomed the extension of Pistorius’ sentence to 13 years for the 2013 murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. The Supreme Court of Appeal yesterday increased Pistorius’ jail term from six years to 13 years and five months in prison.
“Justice has once again proved that some cases don’t get ‘lost in the system’ and that no one is above the law,” Nontenja said.
“A fair and effective justice system will at the very least make perpetrators pay for their sins.”