A five-year-old rape victim suffers at hands of SA courts

File pictureThe victim’s case has been postponed five times due to the court not being adequately prepared. Picture: File

File pictureThe victim’s case has been postponed five times due to the court not being adequately prepared. Picture: File

Published Jun 22, 2024


The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) is denying justice to a now eight-year-old boy, who was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a school transport driver, in Alexandra, in 2021.

His case has now been postponed for the fifth time due to the courthouse’s unpreparedness and inability to organise a special room for him to testify in.

Head of Advocacy at Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) Luke Lamprecht said the court had done nothing but frustrate the victim with its endless postponements and lack of preparedness.

Lamprecht said if it was not the intermediary not being available, it was the room not being available or the equipment not working.

“This special room is supposed to ensure a child-friendly environment, but there is nothing child-friendly about the court environment. The prosecutor was given the option to transfer to a room with working equipment but strangely refused to. For every court date, the boy has to be taken out of school and prepared mentally for the difficult process of going to court and facing the accused, only to be sent away again.

“The accused (whose name is known to WMACA) is a neighbour of the child. Out on bail, he moves around freely and actively terrorises the family. The fear this child must feel every day is unimaginable. This child is now eight years old and presents with serious behavioural problems and threatens other children. He is going to need a lot of therapy,” he explained.

The child was repeatedly targeted by the school's transport driver, leading to grave physical and emotional trauma.

According to WMACA, the driver reportedly manipulated situations by waiting until the child was the last one in the van and dropping him at home late. The boy started complaining about pain and discomfort in his anus, raising concern among his family.

“The child's brave disclosure revealed horrifying details of the abuse, including the insertion of a metal object (rape) and other forms of abuse like burning the child with cigarettes. Prompt action was taken when the mother took the child to the police and then to the medico-legal clinic, resulting in an immediate medical examination and subsequent identification of signs of penetration. Upon escalation of the case to that of rape and the arrest of the accused driver, the authorities commended the mother for her swift response in seeking justice for her child.

“The victim and his family were referred to WMACA’S specialised Kidz Clinic for assessment and therapy, emphasising the critical role of support services in dealing with the aftermath of such traumatic incidents. We have since learnt that there were other victims too, but because the case has not progressed in three years, the other parents decided to withdraw and not put their children through the endless postponements and upheavals the court process is causing to their lives,” he said.

The NPA’s spokesperson Phindi Louw did not respond to questions sent to her by the time of print.

Saturday Star

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