Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, MEC Senzo Mchunu and senior officials pray at the bedside of an 8 year old rape victim today. KZN Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize today paid a visit to an 8 year old girl (who cannot be named because she is a minor and a victim of a sexual assault) from Gingindlovu's whose brutal attack and rape caused an international outcry, and committed government's support while condemning the incident. The girl was raped and had her eye gouged out in the attack. Dr Mkhize was accompanied by Education MEC Senzo Mchunu and the regional leadership and senior officials from all levels of government, some of whom have been in the area since the incident was reported. A 15 year old suspect appeared in court yesterday and was released to the care of his parents because he is a minor. We are here to offer our support to the victim and her family and to ensure that she gets the proper care that she needs, said Dr Mkhize. He said communities have to take responsibility for the children and to ensure that they

Despite her terrible wounds and ordeal at the hands of a teenager who allegedly raped her and gouged out her left eye, the brave, eight-year-old victim appeared to be in good spirits on Sunday, proclaiming to a relative: “I can see with my other eye.”

The little girl was recovering at Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni after the horror attack last Monday.

The Grade 2 pupil was walking from school with a 15-year-old boy when he allegedly dragged her into a cane field near her home and allegedly viciously attacked her, leaving her left eye dangling from its socket and bite marks on her face and neck.

He had also allegedly attempted to strangle her.

The boy, who was arrested but since released into the custody of his mother after being charged with rape and attempted murder, had also allegedly tried to gouge out her right eye, but it had been swollen shut at the time.

On Sunday, a relative of the girl who had visited her in hospital said she was quite emotional seeing her, and being told by the victim that she could still see.

“I was so surprised that she was even walking and genuinely seemed very excited that she could see me and everything else,” said the relative who cannot be named to protect the identity of the minor child. “She seemed full of hope that she would one day see with her left eye and I did not have the heart to tell her that she wouldn’t.”

The left eye had to be removed by doctors and there was uncertainty – until Sunday – about whether her right eye was affected.

The relative said the girl had also asked for food. In the days following the brutal attack, she had had no appetite and had rejected all food.

“I was so grateful to God for her sight and seeing her look happy,” she said with a sigh of relief.

“The trauma of what happened is still there, but she is getting help and I believe that by the time she is discharged she will be better.”

However, the girl was suffering from severe headaches, she said.

The relative said the girl’s family had indicated they would cut down the cane field where the girl was attacked.

“When she comes home, we don’t want her to see the field again.

“We don’t want her to be constantly reminded of what happened,” she said.

The girl’s 73-year-old grandmother, who saw her soon after her ordeal, said yesterday she could not contain her joy at the news that the child could see with at least one eye.

“I was so scared at the thought that she may not see, but God is good. I now know that she is getting better,” she said.

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