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CAPE TOWN July 22 1999 Sapa

The Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town has expressed concern that the city was becoming known as "Rape Town" following a number of particularly vicious attacks on women and young girls recently.

The Rev Njongonkulu Ndungane told a media briefing on Thursday at Bishops Court in the city that community and religious leaders had come together to see if Cape Town could rid itself "of this scourge".

"We are concerned that our town is becoming known as Rape Town," he said.

He was speaking after a meeting of the Inter-religious Commission on Crime and Violence.

He said it was the pastoral responsibility to bring hope to the community and find ways in which the community's anger could be channelled.

A sub-committee had been set up to co-ordinate the commission's efforts to highlight the problems facing women and children, and establish how best to deal with these problems.

A number of activities were being planned for August 9, National Women's Day, to highlight all forms of crimes against women and children.

Some of the activities would include a mass march in one of the townships to give people a chance to express their abhorrence at violence and rape, which was rampant in the Western Cape.

An inter-denomination open meeting would also be held in the city to express "how sorry we are for victims of violence", Ndungane said.

Activities, including memorial services and marches, were being planned for November 25, International Women's Day.

The meeting was called in the wake of the attack on 14-year-old Valencia Farmer, who was gang-raped and stabbed 42 times in a derelict house on the Cape Flats. She died later in hospital. A 16- year-old girl from the Mbekweni area was gangraped and sodomised by a group who abducted her.

Dr Amy Marks of the Baha'i Faith Community said discussions at Thursday's meeting centred around a call to put pressure on the government to move towards more visible policing and education in schools.

"We need to pool our resources. We need to change how people think and express outrage at crimes committed against women and children. We need to channel our anger constructively," Marks said.

Present at the meeting were the Muslim Judicial Council, the Jewish Board of Deputies, representatives of the Trauma Centre, the Union of Jewish Women, Business Against Crime, Imam Rashied Omar of the Claremont Main Road Mosque and other religious and community leaders.

©Copyright, 1999 African National Congress

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