File picture: Independent Media

Bloemfontein - The case of the Bloemfontein couple accused of abusing their two minor children and were arrested in Pretoria on Tuesday after skipping court, has been postponed to November.

Free State High Court Judge Corne van Zyl told the two during a brief court appearance that their trial will resume in the last term of the High Court from November 26-30.

This is because the court roll for the current term and the next one are already full and their matter can only be accommodated at the end of the year. They will be held in custody until they return to court.

The two are each facing a charge of conniving to rape, sexual exploitation of a minor, not seeking permission to perform a sexual act and child abuse.

They held each other’s hand as they sat in the dock while court proceedings unfolded. 

“These people were living on the streets in Pretoria,” said a source close to the case.

“They would just pitch their tent anywhere stay there. They moved regularly from one point to another. They were identified by some woman who saw their faces in a newspaper in Pretoria. She immediately phoned the police and described the couple, leading to their arrest,” added the source who cannot be named because they are not allowed to speak to speak to the media.

The couple was arrested in May 2015 when police received information from a social worker about two children living with their biological parents on a plot in Bloemspruit just outside the city and were exposed to various forms of abuse.

According to police records, the couple forced their then 11-year-old daughter to have sexual intercourse with about five older men who in return paid them a certain amount of money whilst the boy, then nine, was physically abused. It is not known for how long the children were exposed to the abuse. 

The state further alleges that the children were forced to live under inhuman conditions. The girl was also forced to take drugs together with her nine-year-old brother and were often denied food and water. The children were kept out of school and were usually locked up under deplorable and unsanitary conditions.

None of the alleged rapists have been arrested but police indicated during the early stages of the matter that they were also trying to track them down. They said they had received very little co-operation from the mother, who is the prime suspect in the case.

According to initial police reports, the mother admitted to the abuse, but has not been willing to divulge further information that could lead to the arrest of the men who allegedly raped the girl.