Two more children ‘violated’, relative held

The sisters, aged 4 and 9, are being provided with therapeutic services, while their 14-year-old sibling is in hospital

A team established that the younger children were being violated, when the case was first reported to Child Welfare Tongaat (last April)

Published Feb 24, 2024


The two younger sisters of the 14-year-old girl who was “sold” for R5 000 by a relative, have been removed from their home by social workers to a place of safety following allegations they had been “violated”.

Mhlabunzima Memela, spokesperson for the Department of Social Development in KwaZulu-Natal, said the girls, aged 4 and 9, would remain at a youth care centre pending an investigation.

He said the younger sisters were being provided with therapeutic services, while the 14-year-old was in hospital for medical attention.

On February 5, relatives reported that the teenager, from Isnembe, had been missing. After extensive investigations and searches, she was found with a 23-year foreign national on February 9 at an informal area called Sandpit in Redcliffe, Verulam.

He was charged with statutory rape and for being in the country illegally.

The girl’s 43-year-old relative was later arrested and charged with human trafficking, defeating the administration of justice, perjury and wasteful usage of state resources.

It was alleged he demanded R5 000 from the foreign national, who was also his co-worker, to have a relationship with the teenager.

The 43-year-old appeared in the Umhlali Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday and the case was adjourned to verify his address.

Memela said they only learned of the incident when the POST made an inquiry last week; then a team of social workers were assigned by MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza to conduct a home visit and verify the information.

“The team established that the children were being violated, when the case was first reported to Child Welfare Tongaat (last April).”

He said a report was being compiled.

“We cannot provide more details on that (the case), but the team of social workers will also compile a complete report on the findings of the home visit. We find solace that the perpetrators were arrested and we have full confidence in the law enforcement agencies.

“We believe that they will handle this case with the care it deserves. We call on the police to ensure that the relative who violated children's rights, is not granted bail. We must work together to ensure that all the men who violated these children… are punished and sentenced for the longest time in prison.

“As a society, we need to isolate people who continue to violate the rights of children. It would take some time for the victims to recover after being violated by people who are supposed to provide protection to them,” said Memela.

A relative and other family members, who were in court on Tuesday, said they were disappointed that the children were removed from their custody.

“We know that he is innocent as the allegations against him are baseless. There is no proof that he accepted R5 000 in exchange for anything. There is no proof that he sold anyone but she did run away on two occasions.”

She said her relative worked hard to support his family.

“He has not been at work since his arrest and imprisonment. How will he recover from this trauma and the stigma attached to the allegations if the court finds him innocent?”

She said since social workers removed the two other children from their care. They have not seen them or spoken to them.

“We fear the emotional damage that they are going through as they are just 4 and 9 and were taken away from us with no contact. We are hoping the police will do a proper and thorough investigation and the social workers get to the bottom of this.”

The relative was remanded into custody pending further investigations. He will reappear in court, next week.