The Dros restaurant group has issued a statement three days after the alleged rape of a 6-year-old girl at one of its restaurants.
On Saturday, the girl was allegedly raped in the men's toilet of a Dros franchise in Silverton, Pretoria.
In the statement, the restaurant "confirms" the incident.
"We have been in contact with the parents of the child to convey our sympathy and offered our assistance in any form that would (or could) reasonably be required in a matter of this nature," the statement reads.
On Tuesday, police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed to News24 that a rape case was being investigated.
Dlamini said a suspect had been arrested and that the man appeared in court on Tuesday.
"The incident involves a minor so I can't disclose any information about it," Dlamini told News24.
Suspect allegedly lurked in play area
Reports of the sexual assault first surfaced on Facebook, Netwerk24 reported.
The post, dated September 22, reads: "I'm at Dros in Silverton en this man jus raped a six year old in the toilet…police are here, she is bleeding…the guy looks 24…apparently he was scouting her while she was playing in the kids area en waited for her to go to the toilet (sic)."
On Tuesday, The Citizen reported that the man allegedly snatched the girl from the women's toilet and took her to the men's toilet where he raped her.
According to the paper, the mother of the child could not find her and heard noises coming from the toilet.
She reportedly could not open the door and started making a commotion.
The man then opened the door and was found to be naked. The child was also undressed and bleeding from the groin.
A witness told The Citizen that patrons proceeded to assault the suspect. He had to be locked in the toilet for his protection.
According to Dlamini, the suspect was arrested once police arrived.
A witness told Netwerk24 that the suspect was taken away in an ambulance because of the severity of the injuries he had sustained.
The witness said the little girl was "broken" and was shivering with shock as tears streamed down her cheeks.
Dros' head office said it had been in close communication with the owners, management and staff of the Dros outlet where the incident took place.
"As this matter is currently under investigation by the South African Police Service (SAPS), and due to [its] sensitive nature, we are not in a position to comment and/or disclose any further information."
The restaurant group appealed to the media and the general public to allow the SAPS investigation into "this sensitive matter" to be concluded.
Phindi Mjonondwane of the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) told Talk Radio 702 on Tuesday that the 20-year-old suspect had been provisionally charged with rape, possession of drugs, assault with intent to do bodily harm and intimidation.
The suspect remains in police custody and will appear in the Pretoria Regional Court on October 2. He has not yet pleaded and therefore cannot be named yet.