The family of a teenage ‘gang-rape’ victim whose case failed to see the light of day do not believe the “claim” by the SAPS that the matter collapsed because the girl refused to be medically examined.
“The only thing the girl told us was that she refused the doctors’ permission to put in a huge object because she was in pain,” her uncle said.
“On the day of the examination, the doctors said nothing to the mother or any of us about her refusing to be checked. Even the following day, a social worker who came to speak to her didn’t say anything about that.”
The uncle said the family was not surprised the case was dismissed by the court as proper work had not been conducted from the beginning despite the police’s stance that they wanted the case reopened and done properly.
“The officer handling the case did not do a good job; the court dismissed it because there was nothing credible in the docket. So we are demanding that the matter be properly looked into.”
The 14-year-old from Mmakau, north of Pretoria, was allegedly raped by four boys from her neighbourhood on January 14 on her way from a local high school.
North West SAPS spokesperson Colonel Adele Myburgh said while the four suspects were known, there was not much that could be done.
Myburgh said the problem stemmed from the teenager’s refusal to be medically examined by doctors at the hospital. She said police had obtained a statement to that effect, which effectively made it difficult for them to proceed with the investigation. “We also have in our possession the doctor’s remarks about the lack of co-operation and a form that he also filled in stating that the child did not want to be examined.
“We have a social worker and detective who also spoke to the child about this. So, even though the alleged perpetrators are known, we did not make any arrests because we did not have a case.”
Myburgh said it was not that the police did not want to do their job as claimed by the family and community, but they could not investigate further if the victim was not willing to co-operate.
The girl was allegedly raped on her way home from Mothutlung High School. Her mother had sent her to reserve a space in the queue for the purpose of checking her admission status. She had applied to the school for Grade 8.
According to her, she was on her way back from the school at about 1 pm when four boys forced her to accompany them to a house nearby.
“She told us the first one took her into a room and started undressing her. When she tried to refuse he grabbed both her hands and put a pillow over her and raped her,” her sister said. “When he was done, a second one came in and raped her. The neighbours rescued her while the fourth boy was raping her.”
The sister said the residents realised something was not right when they noticed the boys going in and out of the house with their shirts off.
Themba Masango, secretary-general of #NotInMyNameSA, said the issue of police abandoning investigating cases was one of the reasons why gender-based violence continued to be the biggest challenge in the country.
Masango said they were calling on the Independent Police Investigative Directorate to launch an inquiry into how the case had been handled by the Mothutlung police.