AFTER a rape ordeal lasting five years – allegedly by their stepfather – two Limpopo teenage siblings looked to the police and the courts for justice.
Both bore the rape suspect’s children.
One of the girls, from Sendezha village, outside Louis Trichardt, has been admitted to hospital for treatment of depression.
The stepfather, 64, was arrested in August 2010 and charged with two counts of rape. However, one count was later dropped because police had not conducted DNA tests on a dead baby to prove its paternity.
As a result, the Dzanani Magistrate’s Court in Makhado township sentenced the suspect to one month in prison for assaulting * Takalani, his 17-year-old stepdaughter.
The court found there was no concrete evidence to prosecute him for Takalani’s rape.
His trial for allegedly raping * Dakalo, the eldest stepdaughter, continues and the case was postponed to July 20. He remains in custody.
Dakalo has two children, aged 2 and 6, both allegedly fathered by the suspect.
He admitted in court last month that the two children were his, but said Dakalo was his wife, according to the police and the siblings.
A local resident, Angelina Tshivhidzi, had also been in court when the suspect made the allegation. But they all dismiss his statement as a lie.
Dakalo was 14 when she gave birth to her first baby in 2006 and Takalani bore a child in 2009, aged 15.
It is alleged the man started raping the siblings in 2005.
The sisters said they had kept their ordeal a secret until 2010, because their stepfather had threatened to kill them if they told anyone.
“Our mother is mentally disturbed; she could not help us,” Dakalo said.
She collapsed this week and was admitted to hospital for depression.
Limpopo police spokesman Hangwane Mulaudzi said the police had done their investigations “by the book”.
This is despite the fact that the police had not exhumed the grave to determine the paternity of Takalani’s dead baby.
Mulaudzi blames the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) for the prosecution bungle. “There were four witnesses, including the mother and (Dakalo’s) sister. But the NPA said this was not enough,” he said.
Medupe Simasiku, spokesman for the Director of Public Prosecutions, Northern Gauteng region, said the evidence was not enough to prove rape. It was just hearsay. “We needed DNA evidence (from the dead baby) or a witness account of someone who was present when the rape occurred.”
He said the responsibility to exhume the grave lay with the police. “Should it happen that the body is exhumed, the rape case would be reopened.”
Dakalo said her two children were a constant reminder of her sexual abuse, and she “can’t face them”
. She has sent the children to an orphanage.
“Perhaps if that man can go to jail for a long time, we may forget the sufferings he (has) inflicted on us,” she said of their stepfather.
* Not their real names.