Bloemfontein - The grey brick house looks neglected. There is rubbish everywhere in the yard. On one of the anchor posts of the rickety wire fence is a doll’s half-burnt head.
In front of the garage, the weeds stand about one metre high. Some distance from that is a car wreck in the burnt grass in the yard.
This is said to be the Bloemspruit house of horrors, Netwerk24 reports.
A 13-year-old girl testified in the High Court in Bloemfontein last week that, when she was 11, she was raped by four men while her mother, 36, held her hand over the child’s mouth. Her 9-year-old brother had to watch.
From reports submitted to court, the brother testified in detail how the "ooms" (men) had raped his sister. "I usually have to stand here. My sister is on the couch and my mom is holding her down and the four men are on top of her," he said.
The men also assaulted the boy and had sex with the mother in front of the siblings, according to the testimonies.
The children were removed from their parents' care and are living in a children’s home. The mother and father, 44, are facing 13 charges.
Not far from the family's neglected home, 31-year-old Michelle Gouws stays on a smallholding.
"Had I known what was going on in that house, I would probably have been in jail. I would have done something to them [the parents]," she said. "You don't do anything like that to a child."
She was shocked when the couple was arrested in May 2015.
'It's very, very bad'
In all the time they had lived there, Gouws had never spoken the parents. "They only came here to buy milk from my mom, who stays next door to us," she said.
At one stage she had offered the timid girl some clothes. But she wouldn’t accept them. She said her mom would reprimand her.
"When I invited her on another occasion to come play with my son, she again said she couldn’t because her mom would fight with her."
At a supermarket in the area, a member of staff, who wished to remain anonymous, said the children had grown up in front of them.
The parents regularly bought treats, bread and packets of energy gel, but never actually food. "The children had difficulty speaking. It’s very bad. It's very, very bad."
She said the mother had often asked to buy on account, or for help.
The employee also remembers the children coming to the shop with their grandfather. "He was a good man. He always bought them sweet and made sure there was food." She said the grandfather had been a "big client", but wasn't living in the area anymore.
In the sparsely furnished house where the attacks are said to have taken place, there is a Bible among the cigarette butts, empty pill boxes, dove droppings and other rubbish. In a bedroom full of rubbish, there is a red, white and blue blanket. There is a songbook on the carpet.
There are two long shoelaces tied to the door handle. In the wall next to the door is a hole. It seems as if the door was kept closed with the shoelaces.
The case was on Friday provisionally postponed to August 22 in order for the Legal Aid Board to get legal aid for the couple, who had terminated their pervious lawyer’s services.