Durban - A 9-year-old girl whose father stands accused of repeatedly raping her over the past two years told her teacher he used to keep her away from school to care for her infant brother - and when the baby was asleep, he would pounce on her.

This emerged when the investigating officer in the case, Constable Veronica Cele, gave evidence during the Havenside father-of-four’s bail application in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court in Durban on Wednesday.

The State is opposing his bail.

Cele told the court the child’s teacher called her aside to find out why she was missing school. She then opened up about the abuse she was experiencing at home.

The child was subsequently taken for a medical examination which confirmed she had been molested, Cele said.

During an interview with the girl’s 15-year-old sister, it emerged that she, too, reported being raped.

A subsequent medical examination was inconclusive, but as magistrate ZE Zondi pointed out, the 15-year-old was only taken to a doctor weeks after the alleged assault took place.

The longer one waited before going to a doctor, the more difficult it became to conduct a conclusive examination, Zondi said.

The 54-year-old accused gave evidence on Wedneday. He told the court he “didn’t do it”.

Dressed in an oversized black T-shirt and appearing somewhat shell-shocked, the man - who cannot be identified to protect the anonymity of his children - said he was a self-employed panel beater.

He said he was “shocked” when he learnt of the allegations against him. He was at a friend’s house, he said, and he saw police cars.

“I went and asked them what was going on and they asked me what had happened that Wednesday,” he told the court. “I said I don’t know.”

He was subsequently taken to the police station and charged.

The man said he wanted bail because he missed his family.

Public prosecutor SP Ngcamu asked the man why - in light of the fact that two of his children alleged he had raped them - he missed his family.

He responded: “I don’t know why they charged me, but they are still my children.”

He also told the court if he was denied bail and could not continue to work, he would lose the rented home he shared with his wife and children.

He said his monthly rent was R1 750 and that he contributed R500 a month, while his oldest daughter and his wife helped with the rest.

He said his oldest daughter had offered to pay his bail and that he had arranged an alternative residence for the duration of proceedings.

Speaking outside court, a large group of community members who had come to attend proceedings expressed their unhappiness with how the investigating officer had presented her evidence, and said she had not seem prepared.

The Bayview Civic Association’s Brandon Pillay said they would be taking up the matter with her superiors.

Judgment on the issue of bail is expected on Thursday.

The Mercury