Johannesburg - The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is seething over an alleged rape committed by one of its officials in his office at the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court, which is known for its dedicated sexual offences courts.

According to department spokesman Mthunzi Mhaga, a young woman approached the clerk of the Small Claims Court in his office on Tuesday for assistance. The official allegedly tried to solicit a bribe from the woman, and when she refused, he locked the door of his office and raped her.

Mhaga said the man was arrested shortly after the incident and appeared at the same court on Thursday. He was denied bail.

Mhaga said the 59-year-old official, who had been working in the justice sector for a lengthy period, would be charged not only for the rape, but also for attempted murder and corruption.

“We are mindful of the presumption of innocence until proved guilty, but it is really disturbing that our own officials, who are expected to be serving members of the public and enforce the law, are facing such serious charges…

“The department has already served him with a suspension letter, and disciplinary action will follow while we allow the law to take its course.”

It’s still unclear if the rape victim will be pursuing civil claims against the department over the incident taking place on the court’s property. This would mirror the recently resolved case of “Miss F” who successfully sued the Police Ministry after she was raped by an off-duty police officer.

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The Star