Durban - Life was short and sad for a 7-year-old KwaMashu girl who was killed recently while crossing a highway on her way to school.
Before her death, she and her younger sister were repeatedly raped – allegedly by a relative. And thanks to her mother’s resisting pressure to let the case go, she may still get her day in court.
National Prosecuting Authority spokeswoman, Natasha Ramkisson-Kara, confirmed on Wednesday that a rape case had been reinstated, after it was withdrawn in court last week because of technicalities.
“These technicalities have now been removed,” she said.
The mother of the children said she was told the charges were dropped after her daughter died.
The Grade 1 pupil had apparently been left behind by her schoolmates and was crossing Dumisani Makhaye Highway alone when she was hit by a car in November.
She suffered head injuries and died instantly. Her name, as well as others, are being withheld to protect the identity of her sister.
The girls’ mother revealed to the Daily News this week that before her elder daughter’s death, she had opened a rape case against a 16-year-old family member. The younger one is 6 years old. She said her daughters had often visited their grandmother who lived nearby.
She first became suspicious when she found bloodstains on the 7-year-old’s underwear.
When she was confronted about it, the girl lied and told her she got injured while playing at school.
The mother approached her neighbour who advised her to take her daughter to the KwaMashu polyclinic.
“At the clinic, (the child) spilled the beans to a nurse. This (the rape) happened repeatedly when gogo (their paternal granny) was outside the house. It shocked me because I always thought they were watching movies with their (relative) who lives at gogo’s house,” she said.
Afterwards they went to lodge a case of rape at the KwaMashu police station before going to Mahatma Gandhi Hospital in Phoenix.
At the hospital, a doctor tested the girls and confirmed their suspicions, the mother said.
“They told a social worker that a teenage (relative) would take turns in raping her and her younger sister.”
A social worker advised against the suspect staying with the grandmother in the house because she feared for the victims, but that fell on deaf ears and the family tried to persuade the mother to withdraw charges.
“A social worker visited the family and told them to place the suspect far away from the victims. But the family would hear none of it. I stayed (in KwaMashu last year) hoping that after the school term I would go back home (with her children to Soweto),” she said.
“They (family) said his arrest would tarnish their image in the area. But I resisted, I wanted him to be punished for his sins. I cannot let it go,” the distraught mother said.
“I feel like I owe my daughter her life back. She died with a scar. I can’t get over this. I want justice done. How can a court case be withdrawn without my knowledge?”
The mother said: “A lame excuse from the sergeant was that the main victim has died. But that is nonsense. My youngest daughter can testify against the suspect.”
Because of pressure from the family of the children’s father she moved back to her parents’ home in Soweto, she said.
She could not believe it, she said, when her boyfriend stood by his family, asking her to drop the charges.