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Dikeledi is five years old and in Grade R. At her age, she should have been grappling with her three Rs, but the Limpopo girl has been raped allegedly by three separate men since the age of three.
Her mother is pained that a few days ago a relative of one of the suspects termed her daughter a “slut who sleeps around with all sorts of men” when he was being arrested.
The relative has denied uttering the words.
The first time Dikeledi (not her real name) was allegedly raped was in December 2010 and a 27-year-old man was charged with rape.
However, he was released last month after his case was withdrawn, according to Mankweng police spokesman Constable Moses Molepo.
“The case was provisionally withdrawn pending DNA test results and the social workers’ report.”
DNA tests were done at the SAPS forensic laboratory in Pretoria in 2010, but the results were still outstanding.
Molepo did not know why there had been a delay in getting the results.
On May 25 this year, close to two years after the first attack, the Grade R pupil at Mmamatsha village in the Ga-Molepo area, east of Polokwane, was raped again.
A second 28-year-old man was arrested and faces a charge of rape. Dikeledi’s mother said the little girl had cried when she saw the second suspect in the street, before his arrest.
Last Wednesday, Dikeledi was raped for the third time, allegedly by a 26-year-old man.
Later that day, a man was arrested by the Mankweng police.
All three suspects came from the same village as the girl and The Star understands the first two are cousins.
They are said to be friends with the third suspect.
On Friday, the third suspect appeared in the Mankweng Magistrate’s Court on a charge of rape and his case was postponed to August 26.
He and the second suspect remain in custody.
The child’s parents alleged police had not informed them of the decision to withdraw the charge in the first case of alleged rape.
“We were… surprised to see him back in the village, nobody told us if he had been released on bail, or whether he had been set free for good,” said Dikeledi’s 24-year-old mother.
The family said they first knew on Friday of the decision to provisionally withdraw the charge after The Star had called the police. Molepo, however, claimed they had informed the family.
In the two latest rapes, the girl was allegedly attacked on her way from school, less than a kilometre away from her home.
Both times the rapes had allegedly taken place on a rocky outcrop near the school.
Molepo said a villager had raised the alarm in 2010 while the suspect was allegedly in the act of raping the toddler in the bush.
“A community member managed to identify the suspect, who apparently fled,” said Molepo.
At the time, her parents had gone to a funeral and had left her under the care of her 13-year-old aunt.
Her mother said social workers had made an appointment to visit the family on Monday to offer counselling.
Regarding the recent two rapes, police said doctors had confirmed the girl had been penetrated.
Molepo said it was not clear if she had been penetrated in 2010.
On Friday, Dikeledi’s mother accused the family of the third suspect of insulting her in front of the police during his arrest on Wednesday night.
“They said my daughter was a slut and that she sleeps around with all sorts of men,” she said.
The suspect’s older sister denied the allegations.
“My mother only said it was not for the first time that girl was being raped,” said the sister.
She also denied accusations that she had tried to persuade Dikeledi’s mother to drop the rape charge against her brother.
“In fact, she (the girl’s) mother is the one who suggested to me that she wants to drop the charge against my brother.”
Dikeledi’s mother angrily denied she ever suggested dropping the charge.
She said the incidents had affected Dikeledi negatively. She had been crying out at night until she had been taken to see a psychologist. Her teachers said she had become withdrawn.