Police minister Bheki Cele infuriated South Africans with his ‘lucky rape’ remark, referring to the tragic Krugersdorp gang rape. During an interview with eNCA anchors Thulasizwe Simelane and Sally Burdett on Friday, 29 July 2022, the police minister said:
“One woman was raped by 10 men, one by eight, one by six, another by four, three… The one 19-year-old was lucky, if it is lucky, was raped by one man.”
The police minister was alluding that a 19-year-old victim was “fortunate” to be raped by only one man, as opposed to the other women who were raped by more. Despite using the word “lucky”, Cele received backlash over his comment as being “insensitive” and “dismissive”.
This incident would not be the first time the police minister faced repercussions for his words. Cele’s comments soon went viral on social media as many South Africans were outraged by the police minister and called for him to be held accountable for his actions.
Here is the full interview:
‘Bheki Cele must go’ according to the DA
The DA has called for the South African police minister to be fired and says it is “disgusted to its core” by his latest remark.
The DA’s Nazley Sharif said:
“Minister Bheki Cele has said many atrocious things in his disastrous career, but this latest statement is simply unforgivable and can not be ignored.”
Sharif went on to say that the police minister is perpetuating rape culture in South Africa and that Cele must be fired.
“How is it possible that a so-called leader who is in such a position of power perpetuates rape culture and gets away with it? If the ANC cannot act accordingly and fails to remove minister Cele from his position, they have no place to ever speak on tackling gender-based violence and femicide.”
The party has also launched a petition against Cele. Over twenty-seven thousand South Africans have signed the petition for the police minister to be fired. The DA says,
“Enough is enough!”
“It is time for the SAPS to be led by a serious and skilled Minister – not a clueless, irresponsible misogynist.”
South Africans react to Bheki Cele’s rape remark
Local celebrity Sivuyile Ngesi slammed Cele on social media. Ngesi tweeted:
“Dear women, you’re on your own! This is said by the monster (I mean) minister of police! ANC needs to f**k off!”
Ngesi followed up with IOL News:
“My narrative is that men need to do more, my narrative is that we are continuously failing women in society and when the minister of police says such a statement, it shows you the state of this flipping country, women are on their own.”
Actress and activist Rosie Motene also shared her opinion on Instagram, writing:
“A whole minister of police. How can somebody be lucky for being raped??? This narrative is dangerous and is proof that we have a long way to go. We have reported at how certain SA police handle cases, if they take the lead from their minister, can we be surprised?”
On Instagram, Keep The Energy shared a post slamming Cele’s comment. The page has garnered over one hundred thousand followers and is dedicated to raising awareness of gender-based violence in South Africa. The Instagram post stated that the police minister, who has been in office since 2018, has made no efforts to improve “the safety of women and children in South Africa”. The Caption went on to read:
“Bheki Cele, who has the duty to enforce the law, will rather victim blame than make changes. Cele is often more worried about alcohol consumption than the 38 people who were killed in mass shootings during July, the 67 daily murders, and 153 daily rapes.”
On Twitter, Mudzuli Rakhivhane, spokesperson for the One SA Movement, tweeted:
“Is this how the police think about rape? That victims in SA are lucky when they’re only raped by one person? Is this the state of our nation?”
Many South Africans are disappointed by Cele’s remarks. The country continues to grapple with the issue of gender-based violence that claims the lives of children and women across the country.
As the Minister of Police, his recent rape remark was interpreted as indifferent to the entire issue of gender-based crimes. Many wonder how South Africa will progress if those in charge of our nation’s protection refute such serious issues.