By Polite Ndhlovu
Villagers in Silobela under Chief Nthabeni have shown great frustration due to the ever increasing cases of child marriages. They have even shovelled blame to the police who have done nothing despite the cases being reported.
The issue of police silence is the one, according to the villagers, which has people not afraid to commit such atrocities. A commit was once set in the community to try and fight this wave of barbarism. The committee is now tired since no measures have been taken after complaining. This has made other to join the band since there are no arrests made thereafter.
According to the village kraal head Pombi a number of factors have fuelled the increase of child marriages. “We do not have secondary schools nearby. Our children have to travel more than 20Km to the nearest Secondary school. This is very expense since they will need transport. After failing to go to secondary the girls will opt to get marriage” said Kraal head Pombi.
“The other issue is that parents take their children from schools so that can help in gold panning. There they will be exposed to the makorokoza who have no moral values. Also there they will be lured by money from selling of gold. So the girls will take this as a blessing to avert poverty at home” he added.
Chief Nthabeni blamed parents who join hands to push such issues under the carpet. “We know that this is a serious issue. It’s so saddening that when it happen the parents of the abused girl will hide the matter as if nothing happened. Some even have the audacity to charge bride price. When asked to testify to the police they will not dare come forward” said chief Nthabeni. He urged people to desist from such actions as both parties who agree to the marriage of a girl child will be found wanting. He emphasised that no one will be spared for such actions.
“As chiefs we made a resolution over child marriages and screws have been tightened. If one commits such a crime first they will pay a cow to thief, then the matter will be taken to the police where a full sentence will be given. This was done so to make sure that no one will misbehave. I also implore the community to take this matter seriously and report any case they know” he added.
He also said that if the parents of the girl agree to marriage arrangements they will also face the wrath of the law.