Outrage as rape accused gets bail

| Ntombi Ngubane
Angry residents protested outside the court as a man accused of rape was granted bail. Picture: Nompendulo Ngubane

Residents of Mpophomeni in Howick are up in arms after a man accused of the rape of two seven year old girls was granted bail.

The girls had to watch each other being raped.

Bhekumuzi Mbokazi, 40, was granted R2,000 bail by the Howick magistrate’s court on Friday. Angry residents came in their numbers to support the families of the victims, singing songs and carrying banners. They blamed the justice system for being too lenient.

According to the mother of one of the children, the girls were tied to a chair and gagged with a cloth.

The mother said she became concerned when she saw a red colour in her daughter’s urine on 18 June.

“As I was trying to figure out what was wrong with her I picked up that she was limping when she was walking. I called her and I checked her private parts and that is when I discovered that she had an infection. I took her to the doctor who confirmed that she was infected. The doctor confirmed that she was raped. We were then advised to go to the children’s clinic in Edendale Hospital where they confirmed everything.

“That is when she told me everything that happened on the day they were coming from school. She was with the other little girl who is the same age as her. I called the other girl’s mother and she checked her child, took her to hospital and they confirmed she was also raped,” said the mother.

The mother of the other child said the rape was like an arrow piercing her heart.

She said the children had been called into a house on their way home from school.

According to the girls the rapist had sat one of them on the chair and blocked her mouth with a cloth.

“He started raping one while the other one watched everything. After he was done he untied the other one, he did the same thing. He blocked the mouth and tied her on the chair and continued with the other. That is what both of them said when we sat them down before calling the police,” said the mother.

Both mothers said it was not easy for the children to talk. They said the children were scared of speaking out since the rapist had threatened to kill them or their mothers if they said anything.

As both mothers were crying outside the court, community members were insulting the wife of the accused who stood next to the security guards.

Treatment Action Campaign (TAC) regional coordinator Mzamo Zondi said TAC was supporting the families of the children.

“In June we celebrate children’s week and youth in the whole country. Having a man raping young children is a disgrace to all the men. Real men don’t rape and abuse women and children. We are saying no to this and that is why we will come in numbers to this same court on 29 July,” said Zondi.

Ndumiso Zuma from the Howick SAPS Youth Desk said the youth of Howick wanted to send a message that “rape is not allowed in this area”.

“We will not fold our arms, sit down and watch people acting in a barbaric manner. As the youth and the community we are saying no,” said Zuma.

The President of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, Joan van Niekerk, said: “The community believes that justice was not done.

“It is important that the rape of children is considered a priority crime and this response from the Court must feel like the Court does not see this as serious.

“Our bail legislation appears not to have been applied. Bail should only be granted in exceptional circumstances,” said van Niekerk.

A condition of the bail is that Mbokazi will not stay in Howick. His next appearance is on 29 July.

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