News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Sunday April 21st 2019

Guardian of 7-year-old rape victim accused of abuse

Sandiso Phaliso

The guardian of the seven-year-old girl who was allegedly repeatedly raped in school toilets by boys aged nine and 11, stands accused of abuse by social workers.

This emerged on Friday when social workers arrived at the home to take the girl, and her two-year-old brother, to a place of safety.

The social workers claim the girl had told them her guardian beat her, locked her in a room, shouted at her and refused to allow friends to visit her.

The guardian this week claimed the girl, who started her school career in grade 1 this year, had been raped by three boys at the Nyanga school she attended, almost every school day during the first two weeks of term. And the distraught guardian, 30, said when she approached the school, the class teacher said her child was “ougat” (a slut) and deserved to be raped.
She reported the matter to the police and took the girl out of the school.

Nyanga police spokesperson Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi confirmed that a case of rape involving the girl had been opened and three boys, one aged nine and two aged 11, were being investigated.

Western Cape provincial media spokesperson Frederick van Wyk said: “The investigation will continue and when completed the docket will be referred to the state prosecutor for a decision.
Only the court can decide what is going to happen in this regard.”

The girl’s guardian said she became suspicious when the girl kept returning home late in the afternoon after school.

When asked, the girl said her teacher kept the whole class at school for afternoon classes.  But she then found out from other pupils at the school that this was not true.

She interrogated the girl more closely on Friday last week.
“I took her pants off and saw that something was not right. I took her to a doctor for examination and it was proved that something had penetrated her vagina,” she said.
She said the girl then told her some boys were inserting their penis in her vagina.

Her daughter told her that every school day boys would take her to the boy’s toilets and threaten her before taking turns raping her.
Allegedly, while one boy would be raping her, others would guard the door, loitering outside to raise the alarm when a teacher was coming down the corridor.
Then they would accompany her halfway home, threatening her not to tell anyone.

While this reporter was interviewing the guardian on Friday (Feb 05) two social workers from the provincial social development department, accompanied by two police officers arrived to take the girl and her little brother away.
When she asked why they were taking her children away, the social workers told her during an interview at the house the previous day, the girl had told them she was being abused.

“They told me they are going to lay charges of abuse against me. They should go ahead because I have done nothing wrong, and have nothing to hide” said the guardian.

“I love her and was taking care of her. She was happy living with me.”

However, she had no legal documentation appointing her as the legal guardian.
She said the girl and her brother had been living in Lesotho in her home village when she met them.
“My cousin living in Lesotho took the children in her care, but she struggled having them around and asked me if I can take care of them. We have been living together for almost a year now and we have become family,” said the guardian.

She said she was worried about the little girl because she was due to start at a new school on Monday.
“We have already bought stationery and a uniform. I don’t understand why the social workers would take her away from me instead of helping investigate the boys who raped her.

Social development spokesperson Wendy Vester had not responded to questions by the time of going to press.

Tags: juvenile crime, Ntomboxolo Sitshitshi, rape of a minor

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