Cape Town - Police have launched a manhunt for a man suspected of having raped a three-year-old child in the Bardale informal settlement in Mfuleni.
Two women found the little girl crying on an open field about 100m from her home on Sunday evening, police spokeswoman Phindiswa Gcume said on Tuesday.
She urged anyone with information, or who had seen the child in the company of a man, to contact the police urgently. The little girl had been wearing a red dress and red pants at the time. Gcume also requested information about the women who found the child.
The little girl, who cannot be named in order to protect her identity, disappeared outside her house while her 25-year-old mother was inside preparing dinner.
The mother, who also cannot be identified, said on Tuesday that the family had returned from church on Sunday afternoon.
The girl and other children had followed her father to the train station. “Her father told them to return because it was too far for them to go,” she said.
“They played outside in front of the house. When I did not see her playing, I was not worried because I thought they had followed her father to the station.
“After an hour I became concerned and started to look for her. Later, I became more concerned. As I was about to go out and look for her again I met her at the door.
“She was accompanied by two ladies. They said they had found her crying in the field. I didn’t even ask what their names were.
“They just arrived and told me they found her on the open field and they left,” she said. The little girl’s mother said she noticed something wrong with her child.
She showed the Cape Times where her daughter was found. “Her eyes were red. She was angry. She vomited. She just dragged me and said: ‘I will tell you what happened.’ She took me to the spot where she said a man had taken her and inserted his private part in her.
“I just froze. I asked her who the man was and she cried.”
The child was taken to a doctor who confirmed she had been raped.
Holding back tears, the mother said: “She said the man threatened to kill her if she told me what he did. Now she cries all the time at night. She has nightmares.”
Anyone with information can contact Warrant Officer Tino Plaatjies on 084 234 1725 or 082 522 1047, CrimeStop on 08600 10111 or SMS Crimeline on 32211.