The parents of two young girls, aged 5 and 6, who were raped by their father, were sentenced in the Pretoria Regional Court this week.
The father was sentenced to two life sentences for rape while the mother was sentenced to five years for failure to report sexual abuse.
According to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the girls were just 4 and 5 years old, respectively, at the time.
The sexual abuse came to light when their day care teacher became aware of sexual behaviour displayed by the girls toward other children.
“Upon investigation about where they learnt that from, the children then explained that their father ‘drinks’ from their breasts when he is thirsty.
“The day care mother went to seek help and advice from the Sinoville Crisis Centre.
“It is at the crisis centre where the children detailed that their father inserts his finger in their private parts and when they told their mother, she simply put ointment and scolded their father,” the NPA explained.
The trial was a complex one as it involved child victims, the prosecuting authority said, adding a trial within a trial was conducted regarding the capacit of the children to testify.
According to the NPA, the legal team argued that because of the children’s age, “they were not competent witnesses.”
“Advocate Johanna DuPreez argued that the fact that these children were able to give detailed statements to the police should be considered and further stated that intermediaries furnished the court with assessment reports detailing that the children were able to comprehend between right and wrong.”
The court eventually ruled that the children were “competent and compellable witnesses” and should be allowed to testify.
Acting Director of Public Prosecutions in North Gauteng, Advocate George Baloyi, commended the prosecution in the case as well as all involved.
“The NPA commends the prosecutor and the team efforts of all stakeholders involved (Caregiver, The Crisis Centre, investigating officer, Intermediaries) for unearthing this cruelty on innocent children. It is through their commitment and dedication that they were able to create a trusting environment that enabled the children to open up and share their ordeal,” Baloyi said.