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Durban – A Durban father accused of raping two of his daughters was denied bail in the Chatsworth Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, after it emerged that he had lied about his criminal past.

Earlier this week, the 54-year-old Havenside man – who cannot be identified to protect his children – took the stand in support of his bail bid.

He was asked – by both the public prosecutor and the magistrate – if he had any previous convictions or pending cases, and said he did not.

But then, during investigating officer Constable Veronica Cele’s testimony opposing bail being granted, it emerged that the man had been convicted of assault twice during the 1980s and of being in possession of dagga in the 1990s.

“I told him that if it turned out he was lying, all the evidence he had given would be watered down,” a visibly upset magistrate ZE Zondi said on Thursday.

“He’s dishonest. It now becomes very difficult to see him as truthful.”

Zondi said the man could not be trusted to abide by any bail conditions the court imposed on him

In any case, he said, as an accused person charged with schedule 6 offences, the onus was on the man to show that there were exceptional circumstances permitting his release on bail in the interests of justice.

“The accused has failed to prove same,” Zondi said.

There were cheers from community members in the gallery when the magistrate announced the man had been refused bail.

His case was transferred to the Durban Regional Court, and he was remanded in custody until next month.

The man was arrested earlier this month after the younger of the two girls he is accused of raping – a 9-year-old – opened up to her teacher about abuse she said she had been experiencing since she was 7.

Her teacher had asking why she was missing so much school.

The girl’s father would allegedly keep her from school to care for her infant brother, and when the baby slept, he would rape her.

When he took the stand, the accused – a self-employed panelbeater and father-of-four – told the court he was innocent and missed his family.

Outside court on Thursday, Havenside Civic Association deputy chair Rocky Naidoo was pleased the man had been denied bail and praised the prosecution and the magistrate for their “superb” handling of the matter.

“Society expects everyone to protect children, and more especially, their parents. These are little kids and they need protection,” he said.

“We are not going to accept this. We are saying to people out there, let us take care of our children because we, as adults, have to protect them.”

Naidoo also urged local residents to make sure that they were aware of what was happening around them, so that such matters could be brought to the attention of the authorities.

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The Mercury