Durban — KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza has called on parents to stop trafficking children.
Khoza issued a stern warning to parents who disregarded children’s rights, that they would face the wrath of the law.
This after two teenage girls from Lusikisiki in the Eastern Cape were rescued after allegedly being trafficked.
The department said that the girls, aged 14, are cousins and they were allegedly fetched from their homes by the mother of one of the children, who allegedly sold them to elderly men for marriage in Matsheketshe village, in Umkomaas, south of Durban.
It said that members of the community became anxious after noticing that the two young girls were staying with the elderly men.
The department said a concerned community member told department officials about the girls’ situation at the weekend, which prompted an intervention by social workers and police.
The girls were found to have been performing duties for the men, including washing, cooking and cleaning their houses. It is alleged that the girls were also sharing bedrooms with the men, the department said.
“Police arrested the mother (who allegedly sold the children to the elderly men) and a ... 69-year-old man, while the other man, aged 59, managed to escape.
“One of the children confirmed that she was allegedly raped and a case was opened with Umkomaas police station,” the department said.
“Yesterday (Monday), the mother and a 69-year-old man briefly appeared in the Scottburgh Magistrate’s Court, facing abduction charges. The case was adjourned to Friday, July 8, 2022, for the accused to make a formal bail application.”
MEC Khoza condemned the mother for allegedly selling the children to elderly men.
She said it the case “reflects how morals have undergone a radical decline ... We are baffled by this. We strongly believe that the rule of law, one of the basic tenets of our hard-fought democracy, must prevail”.
She said police must leave no stone unturned in dealing with the case to ensure the rule of law was upheld.
“We want to see justice in this case ... (it) must be delivered without fear, favour or prejudice. We commend the police and social workers for their swift reaction in apprehending two suspects in this case. However, we want to urge our law enforcement agencies to track down the suspect who escaped right under their noses,” Khoza said.
She said the justice system must send a clear message to criminals that criminality would not be tolerated.
The department said the girls have been given shelter at a Youth and Child Care Centre, and are receiving psycho-social support. It is also working on a plan to reunite the children with their families.
Police have been approached for comment.