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Cape Town -

The parents of the boys who allegedly raped a five-year-old Grade R pupil at a Mitchells Plain school have apologised to the girl’s family.

The girl’s father said that at a meeting arranged by social workers, earlier this week, the parents of the Grade 2 boys “said they were sorry”.

“What has been done has been done. Something must be done about the negligence from the school’s side,” he said.

The father said his daughter had not returned to school as she was too afraid and he was hoping she could transfer to a new school next term.

“When we have male visitors she gets shaky. I have to take her to her room.”

Earlier this month, the father told the Cape Argus that the alleged incident had happened on March 4, but that he only found out about it when he visited the school with this wife on March 13.

He said the incident happened while his daughter was waiting for her transport home. She usually waited in an office, but later told her father that she had been “chased out” by a staff member.

The boys allegedly told her that they would kill her if she reported the incident.

Western Cape Education Department spokesman Paddy Attwell said the school, with the assistance of the department and in consultation with the police, was investigating the matter.

He said the boys were still attending school and had received counselling.

Asked if the department had investigated the way in which the school dealt with the matter, Attwell said the education district office was finalising their investigation.

“Our officials need to take into account the police investigation, which is still under way. Our information at this stage is that there may have been a misunderstanding between the school and the parents.”

He said that, according to the school, they had made contact with the girl’s parents on March 7 after learning of the alleged incident and asked them to attend a meeting to “discuss a serious matter”.

“The did not want to discuss the matter over the phone. The school was unable to reach the parents on subsequent days and the father eventually attended a meeting at the school on March 13.”

The father previously told the Cape Argus that the school had asked him to come to the school because there were problems with his daughter’s transport but had not indicated that she had been raped.

Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said the matter was still under investigation. He said further enquiries should be directed to the National Prosecuting Authority “as a decision to prosecute will be guided by the new Child Justice Act as the alleged suspects are minors”.

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Cape Argus