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IN A bid to protect the five-year-old girl who was raped thrice since she was two years old, the Limpopo Social Development Department plans to relocate her from her village.

Dikeledi*, who is a Grade R pupil at a school in Mmamatsha village, Ga-Molepo, outside Polokwane, was allegedly raped by three men.

Her ordeal was revealed by The Star yesterday, nearly two years after she was first raped.

Initially, she was raped in 2010, aged three, allegedly by a 27-year-old man. The suspect was arrested, but the case against him was provisionally withdrawn because the DNA test results and social workers’ report were lacking. The suspect was released last month.

On May 25 this year, she was allegedly raped again on her way from school.

A 28-year-old man was arrested and charged with rape.

Last Wednesday, the five-year-old was raped for the third time and a 27-year-old man was immediately arrested and charged by the Mankweng police. The second and the third suspects remain in custody.

Yesterday, provincial Social Development Department spokesman Phuti Seloba said they were concerned about the safety of the child and wanted to protect her future.

“We believe the community raises a child, and in this case, the community failed the child,” Seloba said.

The ANC has also slammed the attacks on the girl as inhumane and gruesome.

“Children have a right to play and grow in a nurturing and secure environment,” said ANC Limpopo spokesman Makonde Mathivha in a statement.

Dikeledi’s mother said she was not opposed to relocating.

“I asked the social workers to discuss that suggestion with me and my husband,” said the mother, who cannot be named to protect the girl’s identity.

She took the girl to psychologists and social workers yesterday. “The psychologist said she will recover from the trauma, but it will take time.” The mother added that the girl had nightmares as a result of the rapes.

* Not her real name.