I feel like taking my own life when I think about what happened to my daughter, says mom of girl raped at school
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Pretoria - Khensani Primary School in Soshanguve Block H has been thrust into the spotlight after reports that a 6-year-old Grade 1 learner was raped inside a toilet on the school premises.
The Pretoria News was told that the young girl was on her way to the toilet when she was followed – unaware – by one of the general workers, who allegedly raped her.
Some community members claimed the alleged perpetrator was still reporting for duty at the school despite the rape accusations levelled against him.
According to the girl’s statement made to the police in Soshanguve, the incident happened on August 2, but it was reported the next day.
The police were told that the girl had just finished relieving herself when the alleged perpetrator entered the toilet.
The girl was busy trying to dress when the alleged perpetrator showed up. It is alleged that the suspect forced her to sit down on the toilet seat and then started to sexually molest her.
The distraught mother, who can't be identified to protect the identity of her child, said: “This is heartbreaking. I feel 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.”
The 34-year-old mother said her daughter told her that she was in serious agony when the “old man” allegedly raped her.
The suspect was wearing a mask covering his mouth and nose, she said, but the girl identified him as one of the general workers, who was always seen pruning the plants at school.
The mother expressed concern that she had not yet heard anything from the Department of Education.
She initially went to Loate police station in Winterveld to open a rape case, but was told to go to Soshanguve, where the child is attending school.
The case was finally opened at Soshanguve police station.
Before that the mother consulted the local clinic, where it was confirmed the girl had been penetrated in her private parts and had sustained injuries.
The Pretoria News understands that the incident had since stirred anger in the community, leading to a group of angry parents descending on the school on Friday to demand its closure until the Gauteng Department of Education can provide enough security measures.
Those who stormed the school premises believed their children were not safe inside the school yard.
While schooling activities resumed yesterday, there were still threats made by some locals to shut it down should the department fail to beef up security for learners.
On Tuesday, members of the Progressive Student Movement visited the school to gather more information from the principal about the incident, and also met the family of the child.
"The Progressive Student Movement can confirm that indeed as per the medical report there was sexual harassment and can also confirm that a case has been opened at Soshanguve police station," said the movement’s president, Kabelo Nthekiso.
The student movement remained worried about the parents' concerns, which were ignored by both the school and the department, he said.
“We will be joining in on the case to ensure that the perpetrator is arrested and prosecuted. We believe justice will be served,” he said.
Gauteng police spokesperson Captain Kay Makhubele confirmed that a case of rape was opened at Soshanguve police station and that an investigation was under way.
Although he could not disclose the details around the rape incident, he said no arrest had been made as yet.
“I don't know how it happened. That is part of the investigation. We can't tell you what happened,” Makhubele said.
The department did not respond to questions regarding learners’ security at the school, and why the alleged perpetrator was still reporting for duty as claimed by some community members. But in a media statement MEC Panyaza Lesufi expressed his anger.
He said the learner had informed her mother on August 3 that she was allegedly raped. “We are disturbed and angered by the allegations … We always strive to make our schools safe havens for our learners and are angry that a young girl has, allegedly, been raped at one of our schools.”