Parents of rape victims seethed with disappointment as they left the Queenstown magistrate’s court on Wednesday following a ‘prolonged’ rape case in which a 16-year-old boy from Komani Park was convicted for raping 12 children between the ages of 6 and 11.
The Rep reported (“Young boy accused of multiple rapes” October 10, 2016) that a teenager, who may not be named as he is under age, was accused of raping 21 young children in the Komani Park area, some under the age of 10, with charges dating back to May 2016.
The boy, who was 13 when he committed the offences, pleaded guilty and was convicted on September 27, 2019 on 10 counts of rape and two counts of compelled rape. He appeared before magistrate Lungi Mahlathi on Monday when state prosecutor Sibusiso Mgenge requested a postponement as social workers were not present to provide pre-sentencing reports. The matter was provisionally postponed to Wednesday.
Speaking to The Rep, the victim’s parents expressed their discontent, stating that they were disappointed in the way the case was handled. “I am angry. It seems as though there is no law. I do not even feel like talking because we have lost hope. This case has been going on for too long. We even wrote a letter to the court to demand the immediate removal of the boy from our area because children cannot be in the same space as him. We demanded that he be taken to a correctional facility, but our demands were not met. He is still there, walking in the same street and buying from the same shop as our children. This is not only disturbing to us, but traumatising to our children as well,” said one parent.
“I have spent money trying to help my child’s mental state. This has had a negative impact in our family and in my child’s life,” said another.
“People are blamed for taking matters into their own hands, but because of such situations what else can people do? Some parents have moved their children, others simply gave up. All I want is for this case to be finalised,” added the next.
Southbourne Primary School principal Marelise Bekker said two pupils from her school who were among the victims had reported the matter to one of the teachers in 2016. “The traumatic experience these children have to go through can have a severe impact on their development. People do not realise that such things are happening. It is of utmost importance that communication takes place. This case has been going on for quite some time and it is frustrating,” said Bekker.
The matter reconvened on Wednesday when Mgenge stated that social workers had indicated they needed four weeks to complete the reports, adding that they also needed sessions with parents of the victims as they were also affected.
Addressing the two social workers present, Mahlathi said: “This is an old case and we cannot allow cases to drag on. People are waiting for justice. Such cases affect young children and parents. The accused is also entitled to a speedy resolution. This is the last time I am allowing the case to be postponed. Reports must be submitted and presented to finalise this matter.”
The case was postponed to January 14, 2020.