"A case of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm was opened at the Ganyesa police station following allegations that a 9-year-old boy was handcuffed and tortured on May 28 by a Disipi filling station owner," said spokesperson Ben Bole.
Disipi is about 48km from Ganyesa.
He said the child was examined at a local clinic. It was established that he suffered injuries, but had no fractures, he said.
"The police confirmed that the suspect [was] not yet arrested and said it is alleged that he is in Bloemfontein," said Bole.
"MEC Gaoage Molapisi said the suspect must be arrested and face the full wrath of the law."
According to the boy's sister, her brother did not go to school on 28 May because he felt ill.
"He asked me for coins to go buy sweets at the filling station at around 08:00. We were called later to find him handcuffed and crying as he was being tortured by the shop owner," she told Sapa.
Cosatu calls for man’s arrest
She cannot be named to protect the child's identity.
He said the man would not stop torturing the boy, and accused him of stealing chips from his shop.
The police were called in, and spoke with the man in his office.
"They came out and told us to ask for money from the man to treat the child, and not lay a charge. We had to go to the police station the following day to open a case."
The Congress of SA Trade Unions called for the businessman's arrest.
"Cosatu calls on senior management of the police to make sure that the person is arrested by the end of business today [Tuesday] and be prosecuted. He should be removed from the village to ensure the safety of the community," provincial secretary Solly Phetoe said.
Comment from police could not immediately be obtained.