Tzaneen - Two separate child rapes in Limpopo last week may have been a cycle of sexual abuse repeating itself, the provincial social development department said on Wednesday.
“We condemn these acts of violence against vulnerable children in the strongest possible terms,” spokeswoman Adele van der Linde said.
She said the rape of an 18-month-old girl, allegedly by her two cousins aged 10 and 16 at Xihoko village outside Tzaneen, may have been a cycle of sexual abuse repeating itself.
That was after the arrest of an 84-year-old man, who had allegedly raped an 11-year-old girl at Bolobedu.
She urged parents to know where their children were at all times.
Whenever molestation or rape was suspected, families should seek immediate professional help from the nearest social workers available to them, she said.
On Monday, the 16-year-old appeared in the Tzaneen Magistrate's Court.
The matter was provisionally withdrawn pending the results of the DNA tests, Limpopo police spokeswoman Colonel Ronel Otto said.
The teenager, who was initially reported to be 15, would be kept at a place of safety.
Otto said the rape was reported last Sunday.
Sowetan reported on Tuesday that the orphans allegedly took the girl from their grandmother's room and raped her near the house, at a village outside Tzaneen.
The child's mother noticed what had happened while bathing her.
When the two were questioned, they allegedly admitted to the crime, the newspaper reported.
The 10-year-old was allegedly released into the custody of his guardian. Otto could not confirm this.
Van der Linde said in this particular instance, both the victim and the perpetrators fell under the jurisdiction of the Child Care Act and Child Justice Act.
She said all would be done to ensure that the children and their guardians received counselling.
The 84-year-old man accused of rape appeared in the Bolobedu Magistrate's court on Friday. He was granted bail of R1000, Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe said.
The matter was postponed to July 8 for further investigations.
The man allegedly approached the girl on Thursday on her way home from a spaza shop in Thebeng village, Bolobedu.
He allegedly called her to his yard, then to his room, and once she had entered the room he raped her, Ngoepe said.
He then gave her R2 and told her not to tell anyone.
“Fortunately when she got home she told her parents, who then alerted police. He was arrested on the same day.”