Parents complain as crèche hit by rape allegations remains operating
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Cape Town – Despite intervention from the Gauteng Department of Social Development, the daycare centre riddled with accusations of paedophilia in Tshepisong, Krugersdorp, continued to operate.
This week, the department said it was sending social workers to intervene and look into shutting down the centre following articles published from Monday. The Star visited the crèche yesterday and there were children on site.
Neighbours informed The Star that the principal of the centre had sent WhatsApp messages to parents saying that the social development officials were on the premises and had allowed the operation of the crèche to continue.
Some of the neighbours had complained that there are no proper ablution facilities at the day care centre and that some toilets the kids used did not have doors. While some children were on site, The Star understands that many of the parents had pulled their children out of the day care centre.
Speaking to the mother of the four-year-old who was allegedly sexually assaulted at the crèche, she revealed that the man suspected of violating her daughter was allegedly still on the premises and being hidden by his mother, the crèche owner.
The family of the four-year-old had also gone to the Kagiso Police Station where they received an update about their daughter’s case.
The grandmother of the child, said there were problems with the manner the police had handled the case. She said what concerned her the most was that the police had asked her to wake her granddaughter up in the morning to go to the crèche and identify the suspect. She believes the process should have been handled with sensitivity.
“What they did was wrong, from what I am told, because now they are saying my granddaughter identified three people as being the one that raped her,” the grandmother said.
Police had told the family that they were waiting for DNA results to come back before they could make an arrest.
Meanwhile, neighbours have continued calling for the closure of the crèche. A neighbour, who spoke to The Star on condition of anonymity, said that it was important for the daycare to close to allow investigations to go ahead. She said some parents had complained about the crèche before and they were not taken seriously by the community.
“There was a community member who was not from this country. Her daughter came back from crèche with fluid that looked like blood on her private parts. She raised it but I think we have failed her. She also complained that her daughter was burnt at the crèche but because she was not a South African, she probably thought we would not take her side,” the neighbour said.
Shaheeda Omar from the Teddy Bear Clinic, said it was the responsibility of parents to vet the daycare centres that they want to take their children to. She said paedophilia was a serious problem and that alleged paedophiles normally thrived in places where there are lots of children.
“When you are interested in enrolling your child into any day care facility, it’s important to establish if they are vetting the employees and people that may be living on the premises. There needs to be thorough screening,” Omar said.
She said it was ludicrous that the daycare centre continued to operate even when there were all these allegations. Omar said all the other children who go to the particular crèche should have been checked and experts should have been brought in while the matter was under investigation.
"We need to understand how these career abusers operate, they find themselves in settings where they have easy access to children. They have to see if there were other cases of victimisation and to look out for tell tale signs.“
Police spokesperson Solomon Sibiya said investigations were ongoing. He said he would check if police followed procedure in terms of the child being taken to the crèche to identify the suspect.