JOHANNESBURG: A white South African judge was at the centre of a social media storm on Monday after Facebook comments emerged in which she suggested rape was part of black culture.
Political parties rushed to condemn the messages, which sparked fresh outrage after a series of recent Internet postings underlined racial tensions in South Africa, 22 years after the end of apartheid rule.
“In their culture a woman is there to pleasure them. Period,” wrote Judge Mabel Jansen, who sits in the High Court in the capital Pretoria.
“It is seen as an absolute right and a woman’s consent is not required.”
Jansen added: “I still have to meet a black girl who was not raped at about 12. I am dead serious.”
“Murder is also is not a biggy. And gang rapes of baby, daughter and mother (are) a pleasurable pastime.”
The opposition Democratic Alliance party said it would report the messages to the country’s Judicial Services Commission to be investigated.
Her comments were “not only hurtful and demeaning”, but undermined “the dignity of our people,” the party said.
The women’s league of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) lambasted the judge.
“Her comments made on Facebook where she claims that the rape of young children is part of black culture, are purely racist and misrepresentation of facts about black culture,” it said.
The league questioned whether Jansen would be able to deal fairly with cases of rape in court.
Jansen told Business Day newspaper that her postings had been misrepresented.
“What I stated confidentially to somebody in a position to help has been taken completely out of context and referred to specific court cases,” she said.
“The real issue... is the protection of vulnerable women and children and an endeavour to cure the pandemic.”
The messages, posted a year ago, were part in a Facebook conversation that was made public on May 8.
Anger erupted earlier this year when Penny Sparrow, a white realtor and DA member, complained on Facebook about black people littering beaches and likened them to “monkeys”.
In the ensuing uproar, local government employee Velaphi Khumalo wrote in another viral Facebook message that blacks should act towards whites “as Hitler did to the Jews”.
Official statistics showed that 43,195 rapes were reported in South Africa between April 2014 and March 2015, though most rapes are not reported to police.
Africa Check, a fact-checking project devised by but independent of the AFP Foundation, recently dismissed reports that a woman or child was raped every 26 seconds in the country.
The project said the number of rapes committed each year in South Africa could not be accurately estimated due to lack of research. — AFP