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Stepmother accused of child abuse but stepbrother arrested

File Picture: Neil Baynes/African News Agency(ANA)

File Picture: Neil Baynes/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Mar 2, 2021

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Durban - AN EIGHT-year-old child who lives on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast was recently discharged from hospital after allegedly being abused by either his stepmother or stepbrother or both.

Details are not clear as to who abused the little child.

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First, it was alleged that it was the stepmother, but at the weekend police arrested the stepbrother after social media posts about the abuse started circulating.

IFP Ugu District chairperson Sfundo Ngwane claimed the police had failed to respond to the case urgently.

A whistle-blower reported the case on Friday but “police only arrived on Saturday”, he said.

Ngwane said on Sunday they went to the victim’s home where the stepmother alleged that it was her teenaged son who had abused the little boy.

“The IFP views this lack of immediate police response as sheer negligence, which should be acted upon with immediate effect, and the officers in question should be dealt with accordingly,” said Ngwane.

He said the victim was allegedly whipped with a wet towel on more than one occasion.

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Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said police had opened a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm against a 16-year-old teenager who had allegedly abused the victim.

Gwala said on Saturday that police had received information about an eight-year-old being abused.

“The police then responded to the area where the abuse was taking place and spoke to a woman who said she was the mother of the child. She informed the police that the child was assaulted by another child with a towel. She promised to resolve the matter among the children,” said Gwala.

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She said on Sunday new information emerged when photos of the victim were circulated on social media.

“The police immediately responded and the child was moved to a place of safety with the help of a social worker.”

Gwala said the teenager, after his arrest, was then released into his parents’ custody and was expected to appear before the Port Shepstone Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.

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Acting Transport, Community Safety and Liaison MEC Kwazi Mshengu directed police to leave no stone unturned in ensuring that those responsible for the abuse and assault of the victim faced the full might of the law.

He said police would work closely with social workers to ensure that the case received priority.

“We are pleased that after being discharged from hospital the victim is being housed in a place of safety where he will receive care and psychosocial support while police continue with their investigation.”

Social Development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza said they were taken aback to learn that the child abuse was allegedly perpetrated by a person who was supposed to protect him.

“We are therefore not going to sit idly, but will ensure that all those involved in the abuse of this child get arrested and prosecuted. It is equally disturbing to learn that police allegedly failed to arrest the (alleged) perpetrator after the matter was reported to them by a community member,” said Khoza.

She confirmed that a team of social workers, with police assistance, had removed the child and admitted him to hospital for urgent medical attention.

Commenting on the abuse, Childline KZN acting director Adeshini Naicker said it was appalling but unfortunately a reality. Very often they faced similar challenges.

“It is sometimes impossible to get the authorities to act immediately and go from department to department trying to find someone to act,” said Naicker.

“Sadly, in the time taken to mobilise, so often the victim suffers further abuse. In order for the scourge of abuse in KZN to stop, the entire community and all partners need to take their roles seriously.”

KZN Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union (Popcru) spokesperson Nthabeleng Molefe said they took the matter of domestic violence very seriously, adding that police needed to ensure that they attended to complaints as soon as possible.

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