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File picture: Pexels

Outcry over suspended sentence for father who sexually assaulted daughter

By Siphokazi Vuso and Lisa Isaacs Time of article published Jul 10, 2020

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Cape Town – A Lutzville mother has described the suspended sentence given to her daughter’s father as a “slap", a "klap
in the face" after he was convicted of sexually assaulting the child.

To add insult to injury, community activists said the man was allowed to continue working as a caretaker at the Lutzville police station after being found guilty in January.

The father was sentenced in the Vredendal Magistrate's Court to a five-year sentence, suspended for five years, 24 months' correctional supervision and 16 months’ community service.

The child’s mother, whose name is being withheld to protect the 15-year-old’s identity, said she found out about the assault in January 2018 after coming across a letter her daughter had written noting that her father had sexually abused her since she was a toddler.

“We then laid charges against my husband. My daughters and I moved out in February 2017 after a long marriage of unhappiness.

"According to my daughter, the assaults went on just before we left her dad - so, for about 10 years.” 

She said her daughter was in the stand in January this year, and her husband was found guilty of two out of five charges of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

“The magistrate said in my face the jail sentence is not fair for sexual harassment and sexual assault. That was a slap, a klap in my face, and it hurts so much. He has no heart. I told the court this man does not show any regret but goes on as if he is so high and mighty".

"He is a criminal and needs to be imprisoned. I broke the news to my daughters when they got home from school. My daughter feels that the law failed her and that her dad was supposed to be in jail, ” she said.

National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said they were looking at the outcome of the case.

“We will comment after we have looked at all the facts and studied the court record,” he said. 

Police spokesperson Andrè Traut said the employee had since resigned. 

“Prior to his resignation, a disciplinary hearing was conducted on July 2. However, this is an internal affair between the employer and the employee, and the outcome thereof is not disclosed,” he said. 

Executive director of the Rural and Farmworkers Development Organisation Billy Claasen called for the State to appeal against the sentence.

“We believe that the State is failing us… The NPA owes the community of Lutzville an explanation as to why the prosecutor in this matter said in court correctional supervision would be an appropriate sentence,” he said.

Cape Times

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