An 11-year-old boy is a police suspect in a case involving the rape of a six-year-old girl on the premises of a primary school in Mpumalanga.
The 11-year-old was identified by his alleged victim during a police parade last week. The shocking incident led community members in Matsulu, outside Mbombela, to march to Sukumani primary school demanding that the boy be expelled.
According to the victim’s mother, the six-year-old uncharacteristically kept to herself and seemed sad when she returned home from school over a week ago.
“My daughter came home and couldn’t take off her uniform and her brother noticed that she had peed on herself and told me,” said the 37-year-old mother who cannot be identified to protect the identity of the victim.
When the mother asked what had happened, her daughter started crying “asking if I will not beat her up”.
“I then assured her that I will not beat her. She then told me that a certain boy pulled her to the toilets of the school and forced himself on her.”
She told Sowetan her daughter said it was not the first time that the boy had done that to her.
“She said the boy would drag her to the toilets, perform sexual acts on her and leave her naked.”
The mother said she then called the principal who advised her to go to get a medical report from health professionals at a local clinic.
“The nurses told me that there was a penetration that took place on my child and called the police. We took her to the hospital for further check-ups and she was given pills which she’s taking now.”
A police identification parade took place at the school and the 11-year-old was pointed out by her daughter as the perpetrator. “All I want is justice for my child because she is scared to go to school as we speak,” said the mother.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Col Mntsholi Bhembe said police were still investigating.
“I can confirm that we are investigating a rape case which allegedly happened against the minor. We cannot say much about the suspect.
“What we can say now is that we have taken the child to our social workers who are well trained and are going to take a statement from her.”
Angry community members last week protested at the school, demanding that the child alleged to have committed the crime be taken out of the school.
Community member Sindisiwe Shongwe said they were not happy the boy was still at the school despite serious allegations against him.
“We want the school to expel this child, we can’t have a child who does this in a school where our little girls are attending.”
He said they were worried the boy may do this to other children. “This kid doesn’t look his age; maybe he is older to even know this thing of abusing other children.”
Provincial education spokesperson Jasper Zwane said the department was also investigating. “Officials will conduct the required psychosocial support to the victim and her parents.”