A large crowd was expected and motorists were warned that the picket would result in road closures.
According to Tshwane Metro Police Department spokesperson Senior Superintendent Isaac Mahamba, different organisations would be arriving by buses for the court proceedings. They would be dropped off at 8am on Francis Baard Street. The buses will be parked at the old Putco depot between Struben and Bloed streets near Marabastad.
Bikers Against Child Abuse members will gather from 7am to 8.30am at Sunnypark Mall in Sunnyside.
“Francis Baard Street between Sophie de Bruyn and Bosman will be closed to traffic from 8am until 3pm,” Mahamba said. “Church Square will also be monitored for possible gatherings.”
Mahamba warned that streets in the CBD would be congested and advised motorists to avoid the affected streets and use alternative roads. “Metro Police and SAPS officers will be deployed to monitor the picket and affected streets.”
This will be the second appearance of the 20-year-old man accused of raping a 7-year-old girl at the Dros restaurant in Silverton. He first appeared last Tuesday on charges of rape, possession of drugs, intimidation and assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm.
It was alleged he forced himself on the girl in a toilet at the restaurant two Saturdays ago. Independent Media has opted not to disclose his identity as he has yet to plead to the charges.
Eyewitnesses said the man had been eyeing the little girl in the playing area and waited for her to go to the toilet.
He is alleged to have grabbed her and taken her to the men’s toilet, where the crime is said to have taken place.
The girl was reportedly bleeding when the police arrived.
It was claimed the suspect was beaten up and Dros management had to lock him in the toilet to avoid mob justice. The management said they were investigating the matter.
The Dros restaurant group said it had contacted the parents of the girl to convey its sympathy. “We have also offered our assistance in any form that would (or could) reasonably be required in a matter of this nature,” the group said.
The ANC Gauteng Legislature Women’s Caucus lambasted the suspect for his abhorrent behaviour.
“We have learnt with shock and dismay of the continued violence directed at children and women. We condemn the abhorrent behaviour of the Dros rape suspect, who even after being found violating a 7-year-old, continued verbal insults and physical attacks on the mother of the victim,” the caucus said.
“We are appalled at the brazen attack on the defenceless innocent child in what is supposed to be a safe space. We will follow this case with keen interest. We call upon the criminal justice system to make sure that no effort is spared in ensuring the successful prosecution of the culprit. In the interest of public safety we request that bail be denied.
“We must at all times remain vigilant against savages who are on the prowl targeting women and children.”
Thoko Magagula, chairperson of the caucus, said the safety of women and children could not be regarded as a peripheral issue anymore.
“Part of the gender violence we are witnessing is because of the patriarchal and societal degradation of women’s rights. The stance against this violence must be rooted in the fundamental re-organisation of the socio-economic status of women in the country.”