UPDATE: Gauteng cops deny earlier confirmation of second arrest in Carletonville crèche abuse case

2019-04-30 12:45
Caregiver abuses child at a crèche in Carletonville, Gauteng.  (Supplied)

Caregiver abuses child at a crèche in Carletonville, Gauteng. (Supplied)

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Note: An earlier version of this story reported that police confirmed a second person had been arrested. The police have since confirmed they made an error and have clarified that no second person has been arrested.

Gauteng police officials have denied making a second arrest in connection with child abuse incidents at a Carletonville nursery school, contradicting local police's claim that the woman who filmed the video showing the abuse had been taken into custody.

Earlier this morning, Carletonville police spokesperson Warrant Officer Peter Masooa told News24 that the person who filmed the video showing her colleague abusing children at a local crèche had also been arrested.

Masooa, however, could not confirm when the arrest had taken place.

At the same time, lobby group Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) welcomed confirmation of a second arrest in a statement issued on Monday night, saying its members would be present when the accused next appeared in court.

The woman who is seen in the video is expected to appear in the Oberholzer Magistrate's Court on May 7.

Speaking to News24 on the sidelines of the destruction of counterfeit goods, Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said they had not arrested a second suspect in connection with the alleged abuse.

READ: Carletonville horror creche shut down, social development MEC to lay complaint

The 40-year-old caregiver was arrested on March 26 and appeared in court on charges of assault two days later. 

She was released on R3 000 bail.

Gauteng Social Development MEC Nandi Mayathula-Khoza closed the crèche earlier this month, after the videos of the alleged abuse went viral on social media.

"We have decided to close down this early childhood development centre. I ... learnt about this situation today. I was sent a clip during a meeting and I was deeply disturbed by what I saw, and that is why I decided to come here," said Mayathula-Khoza said at the time.

In one of the videos, the caregiver can be seen repeatedly slapping a toddler. 

Video shows children being hit

In another video, a young girl is forced to clean up after having vomited. The child is slapped on her buttocks. In a third video, a toddler is slapped for what appears to be a refusal to sleep, News24 earlier reported.

crèche in Carletonville

Caregiver abuses child at a crèche in Carletonville, Gauteng. (Supplied)

Mayathula-Khoza complained that the second woman had failed to protect the children when she saw her colleague assaulting them, and chose instead to film it.

The MEC said that the crèche in question had been operating on an expired licence.

"This is an illegal entity in operation. When I asked for the crèche's certificate, I looked at it and it is a 2016 certificate. The principal should have complied and applied for a new certificate, but she did not do that," she said.

Mayathula-Khoza earlier promised to charge the principal with neglect, as the children had been under her care when the abuse took place.

'Level of abuse is staggering'

WMACA founding director Miranda Jordan has appealed to anyone with more information to come forward.

Jordan has called on parents and concerned community members to join them on Friday at Westfields Primary School, in Carletonville to address their concerns regarding this case.  

"The level of abuse that the viral videos depicted is staggering, and evident that as a society we need to engage together in seeking answers about going forward.

"[We] will demand the harshest sentences possible for the unspeakable violence against children who could hardly talk, yet were forced to suffer at their hands," Jordan said.

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