Calls to speed up probe into alleged rape of girl at Soshanguve school
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Pretoria - The SAPS in Gauteng have been faced with mounting calls to speed up their investigation into a case involving a 6-year-old learner, who was allegedly raped inside a toilet at Khensani Primary School in Soshanguve Block H.
The horrendous incident took place last week on August 2 when the Grade 1 learner was allegedly raped by a general worker.
In her account of what happened on that fateful day, the learner told the police that she had just finished relieving herself when the alleged perpetrator ambushed her inside the toilet.
The suspect was allegedly wearing a mask covering his mouth and nose.
It is alleged that he forced the girl to sit down on the toilet seat and then started to sexually attack her.
A medical report obtained by the girl's parents confirmed that the girl had been penetrated in her private parts and had sustained injuries.
Civil society organisation #NotInMyName and the Parliamentary portfolio committee on Basic Education became the latest structures to make calls for police to act swiftly and arrest the suspect.
#NotInMyName secretary general, Themba Masango, said: "The police must act swiftly on this case to make sure that we have conviction as quickly as possible."
He also called for the Department of Education to conduct regular background checks on the teachers, principals and the general staff in the interest of the learners' safety.
"When you have a situation like this and you have done a proper vetting you can actually be ahead of the issue because we don't know if this person has ever done this before," Masango said.
He emphasised that it was important for people working at schools where there were young children and girls to undergo a vetting process.
"If vetting is done we can avert such a situation. If we can do vetting all the time then we will know that we can at least be safer," he said.
He also believed that South Africa ought to look into making public the names of convicted perpetrators of gender-based violence and rape.
Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Basic Education, Bongiwe Mbinqo-Gigaba, also condemned the rape of a learner, saying it was against everything expected of a school community.
“Our learners should feel and, in fact, be safe when they are in the school environment. No learner should fear going to school for whatever reason. The fact that the allegations are against a general worker also speaks to checking into the backgrounds of all staff that are employed to work at our schools, before appointment,” Mbinqo-Gigaba said.
She also shared sentiment that the law-enforcement authorities must ensure a thorough and speedy investigation to ensure justice for the affected learner.
“During this period of Women’s Month, gender-based violence still remains a grave concern in South Africa. I am disturbed. I am angry. We cannot allow our young girls to go through this in schools," she said.
On Tuesday, the Progressive Student Movement's president, Kabelo Nthekiso, said his organisation would join in on the case to ensure that the perpetrator was arrested and prosecuted.
Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele said a case of rape was opened at the Soshanguve police station and that an investigation was under way.
According to him, the police were yet to apprehend the alleged perpetrator.
The girl's mother told the Pretoria News that she was heartbroken and felt "like taking my own life when I think about what happened to my daughter. I ask myself why did the perpetrator choose to rape a minor and not an elder like me”.