Pretoria - A Soshanguve hawker who was accused of raping a 3-year-old and detained for several months before being released has received the go-ahead from the Pretoria High Court to proceed with his civil claim against the ministers of police and justice.
The man, who cannot be identified because of the nature of the allegations against him, failed to institute the claim within six months, as prescribed by the law, as he was in hiding. He said he feared for his life after the court had declined to prosecute him and fled to his mother’s home for about a year.
In a statement before court, the man said he was “maliciously” arrested at his home on July 9, 2010. He was detained at the local police station and charged with child rape because of “disinformation”.
Two days later he was taken to a hospital in Soshanguve for a blood test and appeared in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court the following day. On July 19, 2010, he was granted R1 000 bail.
While he was on bail the mother of the child constantly victimised and harassed him, he claimed. He said she lied to the police about him intimidating her, and his bail was revoked.
He was detained from August 2010 until he was released by the court nearly a year later. The charges were withdrawn because of a lack of evidence.
“During my detention I was subjected to horrendous conditions. I was deprived of my liberty and forced to share a crowded cell with criminals and dangerous individuals.”
The charges against him could have been withdrawn much earlier as it was clear the police had no evidence, he said. “I was known as an honest, hard-working family man in my community. As a result of my wrongful detention and malicious prosecution I was deprived of my liberty and income. My good name was damaged and I suffered embarrassment as I was charged with rape of a child. My life had been threatened by the community. I still live in constant fear of attack for an act I did not commit.”
He said after the charge was withdrawn, he went to his home town in Limpopo to escape a possible attack from the community. When he returned he started rebuilding his informal business. For these reasons he did not consult his lawyer earlier about his claim.
The ministers, in defending the claim, denied any wrongdoing and said they had good reason for arresting and prosecuting him.