Siyavuya Mzantsi

A 3-year-old girl from Delft has allegedly been raped by a neighbour whose house was then set on fire by angry residents.

“Police are investigating a rape case of a 3-year-old girl which occurred in Delft. Due to the sensitive nature of this case, we will not further elaborate on this matter,” police spokesman FC van Wyk said.

A 40-year-old Delft man had been arrested and will appear in court today, he said.

The incident was the fourth involving a minor in Delft this year.

The child’s mother, who cannot be named to protect her identity, said the suspect’s house was burnt to the ground and his wife was chased from the area on Thursday.

Van Wyk said a resident was injured during the arrest of the suspect,

and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate would investigate the incident.

The toddler’s mother told the Cape Times yesterday she became concerned on Wednesday when the child complained about pain in her private parts.

“I was bathing her when she told me that her private parts were hurting. I became concerned and I asked what had happened. She said our neighbour had inserted his private part in her and told her to lie on her back.

“I then asked her where the man’s wife was during the incident, and she said the wife was outside,” she said.

“We quickly rushed her to the local clinic and it was confirmed that she had been raped,” she said.

The suspect was arrested on Thursday.

The child’s aunt said: “He never told us his side of the story or anything. We trusted them. We treated them like our second family. We have

been neighbours with him for 16 years. We never thought he could do something like this.

“My niece liked visiting them. They treated her like their daughter.

“I don’t know what might have gone through his mind when he did what he did.”

She said the family was in shock.

“It will take time for this to go away. This will affect my niece in her future.

“What he did is unforgivable. We will never forgive him,” she said.

The incident came in the wake of other attacks on Delft children since January 19.

A 9-year-old was left to die after she was raped and set alight beside the R300 highway.

On February 8, another girl, Siphokuhle Flephu, 11, was found dead in a shack in Delft and had allegedly been raped.

A week earlier, a six-year-old Delft girl was raped in a communal toilet in the area.

[email protected]