No investigation into Soweto teen’s mother

2012-04-19 06:47

Gauteng police are not investigating the mother of a 17-year-old Soweto teenager who was held captive and gang-raped, they said.

Warrant Officer Kay Makhubele denied reports yesterday that police were investigating charges of child neglect against the teenager’s mother.

“The woman was traumatised and we referred her to social workers, who will give a report” he said.

The woman had been through a difficult experience and would receive professional counselling, he said.

“It will be investigated if it is found that there was child neglect going on.”

Makhubele said the teenager went missing on March 21, and the matter was reported on March 25.

She was found in a man’s house in Braamfischerville, Johannesburg, just before noon on Wednesday. It appeared that she had been kept there against her will.

The man found with her was the eighth person arrested in connection with the crime.

The girl was taken for a medical check-up.

The African National Congress Women’s League was outraged, angered and disgusted at the crime, said spokesperson Troy Martens.

The alleged rapists were “depraved”, and some of them were “old enough to be called men” but did not deserve the dignity associated with the ideal of manhood, she said.

Earlier on Wednesday, a video of the teenager being raped by at least seven men went “viral” and became one of the main topics trending on the social networking site Twitter.

The rape was apparently filmed on a cellphone last week.

Martens said the women’s league joined the search for the girl yesterday.

When she was found in the man’s house, he told the police she was his girlfriend and that she had told him she was 19 years old, Martens said.

“This child is said to have the mental capacity of a five-year-old and is therefore not capable of consent; this man must face the full might of the law and be charged with rape,” she said.

On Tuesday, five men and two boys, who matched the descriptions of those seen in the video, were arrested in Dobsonville.

Martens said parents should take responsibility for their children and instil in them – boys in particular – morality and respect for women.

She applauded the woman who found the video on her child’s cellphone and took action.

“We would like to commend the swift action taken by police in arresting the culprits and their dedication to finding the missing girl.”

National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga has warned the public against accessing the video, as it was child pornography.

“Possession and circulation of child pornography is a criminal offence and we won’t hesitate to prosecute anyone arrested by the police,” he said.

Film and Publications Board chief executive Yoliswa Makhasi said she was shocked and angered by members of the public who went looking for the video on social networking sites.

The National Education Health and Allied Workers’ Union condemned the crime as “barbaric” and said South Africans should be concerned about the prevailing high levels of women abuse.

“The patriarchal attitudes that still exist need all role-players in our societies to work together to educate and agitate for a change in attitudes from males of all ages,” spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said.

Proudly South African said it was launching a school roadshow to raise awareness about sexual abuse. It would begin in Soweto.
Chief executive Leslie Sedibe condemned those who watched and distributed the video of the rape.

“What have we become when children rape children and we as fellow South Africans stand by and watch something so evil, cruel, callous and inhumane? Even watching such a video after the fact is atrocious and abominable.”

The portfolio committee on women, children and persons with disabilities said it “strongly condemned” any form of gender-based violence and circulation of the rape footage.

Committee chairperson Dorothy Ramodibe said the crime illustrated how gender violence continued to plague South African society.

The Commission for Gender Equality said it was appalled by “the levels to which humanity is able to violate the rights of others, particularly women”.

National Youth Development Agency chairperson Andile Lungisa said the government and non-governmental organisations needed to work together to root out violence against women and children.

“It is beyond human comprehension what would motivate any human being to engage in such an inhumane act of violence, damaging the dignity of another human being in this manner.”

If those arrested were found guilty of raping the teenager, the law should “have no mercy” on them, he said.

They are expected to appear in the Roodepoort Magistrates Court today.

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