18 October 2017

South Africa: Soweto School Guard Accused of Sexual Assault Hears Girls Are Traumatised

A security guard who allegedly sexually assaulted at least 87 school girls at a Soweto primary school heard on Wednesday that the case was set to move slowly as some of the victims were really traumatised.

The short, elderly man, appeared briefly at the Protea Magistrate's Court in Soweto, where he was told that his bail application was not ready to be heard.

State prosecutor Cheryl Slack asked Magistrate Herman Badenhorst to postpone the matter for further investigation and for an identity parade to be conducted.

"At the moment we are dealing with a total of 15 children who have made written statements," said Slack.

This prompted Badenhorst to ask Slack where the media had gotten the number of 87 girls when reporting on the matter.

When the story initially made headlines, the number of pupils alleged to have been sexually assaulted was 54, however, the number later rose to 87.

The National Prosecuting Authority's Phindi Mjonondwane confirmed that there were 15 statements in the docket so far.

"We have a total number of 87 learners willing to come forward and give us statements, but so far there are only 15..."

Mjonondwane said that from the 15 statements obtained, the man currently faced three charges of rape and five charges of sexual assault.

"It is going to be a long process because we are dealing with kids and some of them are really traumatised because this is a very sensitive case.

"We will be moving at a snail's pace but we urge the public to bear with us... We will be working very hard to make sure that these children receive justice."

Gauteng education MEC Panyaza Lesufi previously told News24 that the suspect, who is in his 50s and is known to the community, allegedly began assaulting the children, ranging from Grade R to 7, in February.

It was only on September 26, after a grandparent reported an incident to the principal, that all educators were instructed to question the pupils.

The man was reportedly arrested on October 9.

He would return to court in a week's time (October 25).

Source: News24

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