File picture: Elisabet Ottosson/Flickr

Cape Town - A 28-year-old Beaufort West man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after allegedly torturing a two-year-old boy for several hours.

Last week Thursday, the suspect, who lived with his girlfriend, the 24-year-old mother of the boy, at a house in Khanya Street, held her and her child hostage from about 8am.

The mother managed to escape at about 2.45pm and called for help at a police station.

By the time police and community members arrived at the house, the suspect had fled.

One of the community members broke a window to get in and rescue the toddler.

“The child was transferred to George hospital due to the severity of his injuries,” said police spokesman Captain Malcolm Pojie.

“Witness accounts by the mother reveal that the suspect slapped and kicked the boy in the face, burnt his feet with boiling water, put a cement brick on his chest, and forced the boy to eat his own faeces.”

Officers from the Beaufort-West Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit (FCS) arrested the suspect on Sunday afternoon after a call for assistance in locating the man was broadcast on a community radio station.

“Within minutes after the broadcast, the investigating officer, Sergeant V Booysen, received an anonymous call from a member of the community who revealed the whereabouts of the suspect,” said Pojie.

He said the man would remain in custody until his first court appearance.

The child has undergone an emergency procedure at a hospital in George and has shown satisfactory results, police said.

However, he remained in a serious condition.

Western Cape Minister of Community Safety Dan Plato on Monday morning condemned the attack.

“It is unthinkable that anyone could behave in such a violent and horrific manner. The police should be commended for such a rapid response and for using the local radio station to call upon the community for help.”

Social Development MEC Albert Fritz lauded the community and said that he was “saddened” by the attack.

“I want to applaud the community for their role in the events that led to the arrest of a suspect and I hope that the law will deal with the perpetrator in the harshest possible manner.

“My officials in Beaufort West will ensure that the family gets the necessary psychosocial support during this very difficult time.”

Cape Argus