June 2019 was a cruel month to comprehend for a family from the Swalala Trust area in Nelspruit after a 47-year-old man, who was believed to be the head of a family, raped his six-year-old granddaughter while his daughter was away.
The names of the accused, the victim, and her mother are withheld from the public because they are family members, Mpumalanga NPA spokesperson Monica Nyuswa confirmed.
The six-year-old victim lived in the family home with her mother, siblings, and her grandfather, who is also the accused.
On the day of the incident, the victim’s mother left home, and she was called into a room by her grandfather, who then undressed and raped her.
"While committing the offence, the accused heard the victim’s mother coming in and then told the victim to get off the bed and get dressed," Nyuswa said.
The little girl told her mother what had happened.
The victim’s mother then reported the matter to police the same day, and the 47-year-old was also arrested on the same day.
The child was taken to Themba Thuthuzela Care Centre for medical examination and counselling.
The Themba Thuthuzela facilities are equipped with skilled staff and linked to sexual offence courts to ensure a more speedy conviction, according to the NPA.
In June 2019, the state opposed bail for the accused before Magistrate Vanessa Joubert , who presided over the case.
The man has been kept in police custody since his arrest.
"In court, the accused denied the allegation, and he maintained that he had a good relationship with his granddaughter and her mother.
"The State prosecutor, Leann Jones, led evidence of the victim; the victim’s mother and the neighbours also testified that they went to the house and found the victim naked and crying," Nyuswa said.
It is understood that the results of a J88 medical report, which is used in rape cases, proved that the six-year-old was raped. This report was presented as evidence.
According to court documents seen by IOL, the accused pleaded not guilty to the rape charge but said he knew the victim as she was his granddaughter.
"The court found the evidence of state witnesses credible and reliable," Nyuswa said.
The accused was sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison. His four years spent in police custody were taken into account during sentencing, Nyuswa explained.