Durban - A community near Camperdown is reeling after two children were apparently raped by the same man within the space of an hour on Saturday.

The man allegedly first raped a 9-year-old boy and, soon after dropping him off at his home, walked into a nearby house where two girls were playing alone. Wielding a knife, he allegedly raped the 8-year-old girl.

The second girl was thought to have escaped and raised the alarm, but the man had left by the time help arrived.

The boy’s guardian yesterday said the family was preparing a surprise party for the boy’s grandmother when he was sent to a shop that morning. He was then approached by a truck driver.

The guardian, who cannot be named to protect the child’s identity, said the boy showed no signs of distress after returning from the shop and had taken a bath to get ready for the party.

It was not until that evening - when the 8-year-old girl’s family came to them, trying to find out the identity of the man whom the girls had witnessed dropping off the boy - that they learnt what had happened.

“He began crying and told us the truck driver pulled up next to him when he was on his way home from the shop. The man apparently got out of his truck, greeted him and asked if he could show him where the local church was. And because we go to that very same church, he climbed into the truck with him,” she said.

The boy said the driver then stopped at a nearby school and allegedly raped him.

“When I asked him why he hadn’t said anything, he told me that the man pulled out a green gun and told him he would shoot him if he told anyone.”

The family reported the rape to the police yesterday.

“If I had known he was raped, I wouldn’t have let him bath so at least there could have been DNA evidence. All we are going to get now is confirmation of the rape from a doctor. This man must be caught and punished for this,” the guardian said.

Speaking about the second incident, police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said girls aged 7 and 8 had been alone in one of the three houses in the compound.

“An unknown male entered the house and raped an 8-year-old child. He then threatened to kill them if they reported the incident. A case of rape was opened on Saturday and no arrest has been made at this stage. Pinetown FCS will be investigating the case,” she said.

Gwala encouraged parents to report such incidents immediately after finding out about them.

“Even if they find out about the alleged rape some time after it actually happened, they must report it immediately to the police. If they find out about it just after it happened, the child or victim must not bath so that DNA evidence can be obtained,” said Gwala.

A relative of the little girl said they believed that had the 7-year-old not escaped, she, too, could have been raped.

“There were adults at home in one of the other houses. We are disturbed deeply by this, and what’s more concerning is that we don’t know this man’s HIV status,” she said.

Daily News