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Durban - A 12-year-old Durban boy and his three younger cousins have laid charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm against his mother after they claimed they were beaten for not doing household chores before school.
The children, who all live together in Dassenhoek near Pinetown, showed the Daily News their injuries.
A 10-year-old girl’s arm was swollen from the elbow to her fingers and was bandaged, while blue marks were visible on a 10-year-old boy’s back where he was allegedly hit several times with a stick.
His 11-year-old brother had bruises on his arms.
The woman’s 12-year-old son suffered injuries on his knee and his arm was also swollen.
The children were accompanied by an aunt when they opened the criminal case against the 30-year-old woman yesterday.
Police spokesman, Captain Thulani Zwane, confirmed a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was being investigated by the Kwandengezi SAPS.
He said no one had been arrested but that investigations were continuing.
However, the woman, who cannot be named to protect the identities of the minor children, has admitted she had gone too far in punishing them.
“I regret everything about it. Yes, I beat them that day after all the mistakes they did. That day I went beyond punishment and I love my children,” she told the Daily News. “I have anger issues and that day I took it out on them. I don’t know what to do with this anger that I grew up with inside me.”
She said she had thought of going for counselling.
She looks after three of her late sisters’ children.
The woman said she had grown angry after being raped at a young age. “I can accept any assistance to feel better and calm this anger and I have apologised to them,” she said.
The children said they had been instructed by the woman to do chores at the house before going to school. They also claim they cook and wash their own clothes.
They said this was not the first time they were beaten.
“We could not clean the house that day (Wednesday) because we woke up late and we were going to clean after school,” said one of the children.
They said the woman was at home when they came from school and she had already cleaned the house.
“We greeted her but she ignored us. After a while she called us into the house, locked the door and started beating us with a big metal spoon and a stick.”
Only two of them went to school the following day.
“(The) others could not go to school because they had been too injured.”
Two of the children are orphans and one lost her mother several years ago.
“We are afraid to go back there,” said one.
The aunt, who helped them lay the charges, said that after seeing the children’s injuries, she took them to their school and the teachers advised her to take them to the police station.
After they were examined at a clinic near the police station, they were taken to RK Khan Hospital in Chatsworth by Kwandengezi police on Wednesday.
The aunt claimed that the police “dumped” them at the hospital and they were stranded with no transport, or a place to go to.
“The police left us there and never came back after phoning them several times to fetch us at hospital. We waited until 2am and we decided to phone their teacher who came to take us,” she said.
However, Zwane said he could not confirm this.
He said there was no message left with the police station’s night shift to pick up the children.
The children’s teacher said she and her husband were asleep when they were called to pick up the children.
“Two of them had bandages on their arms and they were swollen.
“It was very painful. The girl was crying hysterically,” she said.
“We thought police would give them a place of safety since they had a problem at their home (but) no one answered their calls at Kwandengezi police station.”
The children are now in the care of their aunt.