A mom’s holy trust betrayed at mosque
Johannesburg - He allegedly made them lie on the ground, take off their trousers and underwear, and would then take pictures of their half-naked bodies with his cellphone.
On Tuesday, Evaton police confirmed they were investigating a Tanzanian who would walk his victims back home after the alleged crime.
Constable Thifhiwe Mitileni was unable to confirm how many charges of indecent assault the man was facing.
Mitileni had not been able to retrieve the docket at the satellite police station on Tuesday as the server was down.
“I wouldn’t want to give wrong information to the public,” he said.
However, The Star understands that the man appeared in the Sebokeng Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday.
The alleged crimes, which the parents of his victims believe had been taking place for a while, were said to have taken place inside a mosque in Evaton’s Lakeside Proper section.
The man was arrested last Wednesday after he was confronted by the parents of one of his victims.
The confrontation came shortly after a five-year-old girl told her mother that she had witnessed her twin sister’s alleged molestation.
“She said to me: ‘Mommy, at school we were taught not to allow any person to touch us uncomfortably.’ I then asked who touched her. That’s when she explained that the man had touched her sister.
“I was surprised by what she told me. She even explained that the man ordered her to leave the mosque because she knew too much when she refused to take instructions,” said the twins’ mother.
The mother, who cannot be named because her children are minors, said she was shocked that the man had saved the pictures on his cellphone.
The pictures of the children were allegedly discovered on the suspect’s phone by the mother’s neighbour. Her neighbour’s child had also arrived home to tell her parents about the alleged incident.
“My husband was the one who discovered this whole situation. Luckily, the man was still walking down the road when we asked my elder son to call him.
“He denied the allegations when my husband confronted him. He refused to give us permission to see the pictures on his cellphone, but we were able to grab the cellphone out of his pocket.
“It was really painful to see so many pictures of those children. Some pictures show his fingertips on the girls’ thighs, while some pictures just showed the area around their private parts,” said the devastated woman.
She added that it was the first time her daughter had been to the mosque with her friends.
“What if this was just the start? What if his actions would have got worse, by raping them? We all don’t know what would have really happened to them,” the woman said.
She expressed annoyance at the man’s attitude when asked about his actions.
“He softly told us that he was an adult and wouldn’t do that to our children. He even said he was just playing,” the woman said.
The twins’ mother said they were approached about three years ago by one of the maulanas after the mosque was built in the area, requesting to teach their children about Islam.
“It wasn’t really a problem because it was also removing them from the streets. We knew the children were safe and fed at the mosque every afternoon,” the woman said.
She said they did not think there would be a problem with the suspect, who continued to teach the children after the initial teachers left.
The woman said she clicked only after the incident that the man would always follow their children, even on weekends.
“He would come and sit on the pavement all day, watching the girls play. But we never took it seriously as we thought he was just checking on them.”
Maulana Ishmael, from the mosque, told The Star he was busy in a class when asked for comment.