IPID probes intimidation charges against family of raped 13-year-old

Witnesses say men who threatened Brakpan mother came in police cars

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Photo of protest
Protesters gathered outside the magistrate’s court in support of a Brakpan woman whose daughter was raped in March. Photo: Kimberly Mutandiro

Police have confirmed that an intimidation case is being investigated by the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID) after a Brakpan woman complained of being terrorised after laying rape charges in relation to her teenage daughter.

Community members caught a man in the act of raping the 13-year-old child, beat him and handed him over to police.

The mother says later a group of armed men came into their home in the middle of the night more than five times. They beat up the family, threatened to kill the child and demanded that the mother drop charges. Community members say the attackers came in police vehicles and they claim to have the vehicle registration numbers.

The woman and her daughter are now living at a place of safety. A man, Michael Rhulani, has been charged with rape. He has appeared in court and is out on R5,000 bail.

Lerato Mngomezulu, spokesperson for Tsakane Police said: “An intimidation case was opened against police on 2 June and is being investigated by IPID.” GroundUp was unable to reach IPID.

Earlier this month residents protested in solidarity with the family as the suspect was appearing at Tsakane Magistrate Court. They brought a petition signed by 396 community members, asking for bail to be revoked. An online petition was also signed by 2,000 people calling for justice for the child and her family and for bail to be revoked.

The magistrate postponed the hearing to 12 December.

“We are asking for life imprisonment for child rapists. Many child rape suspects are walking free. Things must change,” said Mariolette Bossert from Mothers Abuse Accountability, who was among the demonstrators. “As mothers we are standing up against abuse. We are encouraging children to speak out against abusers.”

Another protester, Janet Coetzee said: ”There are many women out there who cannot bring themselves to speak out against abusers. One child is one too many. We are encouraging them to speak out and help bring rapists and abusers to book.”

Tsakane resident Phumzile Radebe said, “This case has been ongoing for over eight months. It must be completed and justice served. The law was passed against women and child abusers; our justice system must implement it.”

The child’s brothers sons say they are still threatened when they walk around the township.

“Just a few days ago a man told me that our house would be burnt down if the charges were not dropped,” said the 18-year-old. He and three of his young siblings are alone at home.

“We do not feel safe at all. At night even the softest sound scares us. We keep thinking that the men might come for us,” he said.

Readers have donated food and money and arranged for a lawyer to assist the family. The mother is a waste picker and can barely afford to look after her family.

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TOPICS:  Policing

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