They are both five years old, are in the same class at school, and come from the same village in Limpopo.

Now it has emerged that both were raped on the same day, allegedly by the same man.

The case involving Dikeledi* has been the first to come to light.

She has been raped by three men since the age of three, with the latest assault taking place last Wednesday.

On Monday, the mother of a second girl, Mahloko*, who is epileptic and mentally disturbed, learned that her daughter had been raped, after Dikeledi told her mother that another child in her class had been raped with her. A third classmate escaped.

A 27-year-old man is in police custody and has been charged in connection with one rape. A second charge is to be added when he appears in court today.

Mankweng police spokesman Constable Moses Molepo said: “The doctors confirmed that (Mahloko) has been raped.”

According to the Child Protection Register report for 2010/11, presented to Minmec last year, only one person was listed as unsuitable to work with children.

Ministry of Social Development spokeswoman Lumka Oliphant said yesterday that the latest register contained 22 names, and the names of 438 people had been submitted to court for them also to be declared unsuitable.

She promised to provide a copy, but did not do so by deadline.

Yesterday, DA spokesman on social development Mike Waters accused the department and the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development of misrepresenting the facts when they told the portfolio committee on social development that the register contained 438 names.

The report for 2010/11 shows that no cases of child abuse were reported in that financial year in the Western Cape.

The report shows that during the 2004/05 financial year, the Western Cape had the highest numbers of child abuse cases, with 3 046 cases reported.

Over the next six years, this dropped steadily, with no cases being reported in 2010/11.

Over the same period, the number of cases in Gauteng dropped from 832 in 2004/05 to 588 in 2010/11.

The statistics for 2011/12 period again reflect no cases reported for the Western Cape, while only 20 were reported in Gauteng.

Figures from Limpopo over the same periods reflect no cases in 2004/05, 44 in 2010/2011 and 131 in 2011/12.

Dlamini said yesterday she was shocked that the Western Cape had failed to submit statistics on child abuse cases.

She said: “They are purporting to be fighting for children’s rights, yet they have not submitted the statistics. They should be ashamed of themselves.

“There is no way that there were no cases of child abuse. The Western Cape has a high number of child abuse cases.

“I don’t want to use this for political gain, but it is impossible that the statistic is zero.”

Izabella Little-Gate, managing director of Life Talk Forum, said: “I am very alarmed at the statistics… This needs to be investigated.”

Meanwhile, the Limpopo Department of Social Development has moved Dikeledi to a shelter in Polokwane.

Her mother said the little girl had been having nightmares.

Mahloko’s mother said that her daughter was not showing signs of depression yet.

“I hope this man goes to jail for life. Our children should not become slaves,” she said.

Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale described the attacks on the little girls as “heinous”.

He said: “We cannot continue to live in a society where the rights of children to safety and security are continually being violated.”

*(Not their real names)

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