“I now know what it feels like. I now know what the family of Karabo Mokena went through,” Tumisang Katake told mourners at his niece, Tshegofatso Pule’s funeral, on Thursday morning.
Pule’s lifeless body was found stabbed and hanging from a tree in Roodepoort on Monday, after she was reportedly last seen entering a cab called for her by her boyfriend, last week Thursday.
She was eight months pregnant.
Katake, who was the defence attorney for Sandile Mantsoe – the man who was found guilty and sentenced to 32 years for the murder of Karabo Mokoena in 2018 – pledged that he will never defend rapists, killers of women and child molesters ever again.
In attendance, the EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called on law enforcement to invest the same strength in securing justice for victims of gender-based violence, as they do in ensuring compliance towards Covid-19 regulations.
“Only a coward beats a woman, only a coward rapes a woman, only a coward kills a woman.
“This is not an ordinary death, this is a tragic death. In a country where women are an enemy to men, we don’t have to wait for 48 hours, or for 24 hours, for a case to qualify as a missing person.
“The police are here in numbers. They’ve come to make sure that we stay one metre away from one another. But where were they when Tshego needed them the most?” Ndlozi said.
In a statement, the Gauteng ANC Women’s League said Katake’s pledge was “a step in the right direction in sending a message that money will not work for perpetrators of gender-based violence,” who “get away with their crimes or get less sentences, because they procure services of renowned legal experts”.
Earlier this week, minister in the presidency for women, youth and persons with disabilities Maite Nkoana-Mashabane called upon men to take a stand against gender-based violence.
“How many more women, young girls and children must live with this constant fear of being attacked and violated? Women should not have to protect themselves from men.
“Government will do everything possible to ensure justice is served and calls upon men in our society to stand up again,” she said.
She added that as part of government’s constant intervention to fight the scourge of gender-based violence, the inter-ministerial committee on gender-based violence and femicide resolved, on June 4, to fast track the establishment of a national council on gender-based violence.
“The national council will be an independent and non-partisan advisory body and will provide strategic leadership in implementing the national strategic plan, facilitate resourcing, coordination and accountability in responding to gender-based violence and femicide.”
“Violence against women and children is unacceptable and we should not allow vile tendencies to continue during such a difficult time for the country, or ever,” she said.