Children in peril

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INLSA

A child rape victim keeps her hands clasped in prayer as a social worker attends to her in this file picture. Picture: Dumisani Sibeko

MOLOKO MOLOTO AND SOLLY MAPHUMULO

moloko.moloto@inl.co.za solly.maphumulo@inl.co.za

They are both five, are in the same class at school and come from the same village in Limpopo.

And they were both raped on the same day by the same man.

The Star first reported, on Monday, that Limpopo girl Dikeledi*, 5, had been raped by three different men since the age of three.

The most recent rape was perpetrated last Wednesday.

On Monday, the mother of the other girl, Mahloko*, who is epileptic and mentally disturbed, learnt that her child had been raped after Dikeledi told her mother that another child had also been raped with her.

A third girl, also a classmate, managed to run away.

A 27-year-old man, who is already in police custody, has been charged for one rape and police were expected to charge him for the second when he appeared in court today.

Mankweng police spokesman Constable Moses Molepo said: “The doctors confirmed that (Mahloko) has been raped.”

Even though the rapist is not a child worker, the latest revelations come as a Child Protection Register report for the period 2010-2011, seen by The Star, showed that only one person had been listed as unsuitable to work with children. But the Social Development Ministry’s spokeswoman, Lumka Oliphant, said the latest register contained 22 names, and 438 names had been submitted to court so that the people could be declared unsuitable.

Yesterday, DA spokesman Mike Waters accused Minister of Social Development Bathabile Dlamini of misleading Parliament in December last year when she gave MPs the figure of 22.

He also accused the departments of justice and constitutional development and of social development of misrepresenting the facts when they updated the social development portfolio committee on the register, saying it contained 438 names.

The report seen by The Star, which covers the period 2010/2011, indicates no cases of child abuse were reported for the 2010/2011 financial year in the Western Cape.

Only one person is registered as unsuitable to work with children.

The report shows that during the 2004/2005 financial year, the Western Cape had the highest numbers of child abuse cases, with 3 046 cases reported.

Over the next six years, this dropped steadily, with no cases being reported in the 2010/2011 year.

Over the same period, Gauteng went from 832 cases in 2004/2005 to 588 in the 2010/2011 year.

The statistics for the 2011/2012 period again reflect no cases reported for the Western Cape, while Gauteng submitted 20 cases.

Statistics from Limpopo over the same periods reflect no cases in 2004/2005, 44 in 2010/2011 and 131 in the 2011/2012 period.

Dlamini said yesterday she was shocked that the Western Cape had failed to submit child abuse statistics.

She said: “They are purporting to be fighting for children’s rights, yet they have not submitted the statistics. They should be ashamed of themselves.

“There is no way that there were no cases of child abuse that were reported.

“The Western Cape has a high number of child abuse cases. I don’t want to use this for political gain, but it is impossible that the statistics is zero.”

Melany Kuhn, spokeswoman for Western Cape Social Development MEC Albert Fritz, has denied the allegations, saying they had been submitting quarterly statistics to officials at the national office, but it had not been updated.

Kuhn said they had put forward 150 names for 2011/2012 to be placed in the register and 499 between January and 2012. This brought the total number of people not suitable to work with children in the Western Cape to 599.

However, Kuhn had not provided evidence of this at the time of going to press.

Izabella Little-Gate, managing director of the Life Talk Forum, said: “I’m very alarmed at the statistics. This needs to be investigated.”

Meanwhile, the Limpopo Social Development Department has relocated Dikeledi to a shelter in Polokwane.

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale described the attacks as “heinous”.

He said: “We cannot continue to live in a society where the rights of children to safety and security are continuously being violated.”

Meanwhile, the DA visited Dikeledi’s family on Monday, and the party has also called on Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa to intervene.

“We will correspond directly with Minister Nathi Mthethwa about why it is taking such a long time to release these DNA results,” said Desiree van der Walt, DA member of the provincial legislature.

The DA also said it would picket outside the court every time the suspects appeared.

*Not their real names


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