Western Cape - He didn’t cry – he just stared up at his neighbours from a bruised and swollen face.
The two-year-old who was tortured, allegedly by his mother’s boyfriend in Beaufort West, is a step closer to justice as the man arrested for his attack appeared in court on Monday.
The 28-year-old suspect’s case was postponed in the Beaufort West Magistrate’s Court until May 26.
Police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie said that according to the 24-year-old mother, the suspect had, “slapped and kicked the boy in the face, burnt his feet with boiling water, put a cement brick on the boy’s chest and stamped his feet on it and also forced the boy to eat his own faeces”.
Pojie said the suspect lived with the boy’s mother. He kept them captive in their house in Mandela Square for nearly eight hours on Thursday until the mother escaped and called for help at a nearby satellite police station.
Pojie said the accused’s identity was not released to protect the child’s identity.
The seriously injured toddler was admitted to George Hospital on the same day for an emergency procedure. He is now in a stable condition in the children’s ward.
Aloma Daniels, 45, lives next door to the police station and saw the mother arrive. “I could see something was very wrong,” she said. “While she was reporting to the police, we gathered at her house. It was locked, but someone knew the baby was inside. So a man broke through the kitchen window.”
What Daniels saw next would haunt her for the rest of her life, she said.
Sobbing, she told the Cape Argus: “A little boy with a face swollen – purple, red and blue. He was awake, but limp in our neighbour’s arms. His eyes, barely visible through the swollen eyelids, were looking around at the people. He was not crying, just staring. Those eyes showed that he was afraid and in a great deal of pain.”
Women from the community called off a picket at the court because of heavy rain on Monday, but Daniels has vowed to rouse a group to oppose bail at the suspect’s next appearance.
Albert Fritz, Western Cape MEC for social development, applauded the community for the role it played in helping police arrest the suspect.
“Too many children are being hurt and violated in the home, by people they are familiar with,” Fritz said. “I hope that the law will deal with the perpetrator in the harshest possible manner. My officials will ensure that the family gets the necessary support.”
Cheryl Morilly of Childline Western Cape was equally appalled.
“We are horrified by the abuse inflicted on this child,” she said.
“We want to encourage parents to take into consideration their children’s physical and emotional well-being when they begin a relationship.
“Should they observe signs of abuse or intense dislike on the part of the new partner, they should take the necessary steps to protect their children.”