Phalaborwa - Two pastors have been arrested in two separate incidents of rape involving minor girls in the Phalaborwa area, Limpopo police said on Sunday.
In Lulekani outside Phalaborwa, police have arrested a 52-year-old pastor in a village near Lulekani township for allegedly raping his 14-year-old half-sister, Lt-Col Moatshe Ngoepe said.
"It is alleged that the victim started living with the suspect and his wife since she was three years old following the death of her mother. The suspect, who is a pastor at a local church, allegedly started raping the victim when she was 11 years old up to date until the victim reported the matter to the police who immediately started tracing the suspect and arrested him," Ngoepe said.
The man would appear in the Lulekani Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of rape and sexual assault.
Another pastor, aged 46, was arrested by police in Namakgale outside Phalaborwa. He briefly had appeared in the Namakgale Magistrate's Court and was remanded in custody with no bail until the October 26 for a bail application and for further police investigations, Ngoepe said.
"It is alleged that the suspect raped his 14-year-old stepdaughter at a village near Namakgale township; following the gruesome discovery by the victim's mother who immediately reported the ordeal to the police which led to this arrest."
Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect started raping the victim in February 2015. The police investigations on both incidents were continuing, Ngoepe said.
Limpopo acting police commissioner Maj-Gen Bafana Linda condemned these acts of criminality perpetrated against children in the strongest terms. He warned all perpetrators of such crimes to "repent immediately, not so, we are going to deal with them mercilessly and without compromise".
Members of the community, especially mothers, were encouraged and advised to put more safety measures in place for children, especially girls, to prevent such incidents.