Local government official and his wife in court for rape and human trafficking.

A senior Local Government official and his wife are expected to appear before the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court tomorrow, Monday, facing a case of rape involving two minors aged between 13 and 15 years old. The 49 year old suspect, who is the uncle to the minors, is employed as a Director at a certain municipality in Gauteng. It is alleged that his 36 year old wife, hereinafter referred to as an aunt to the victims, forced the victims to have sexual intercourse with her husband in exchange for meals. The suspects were eventually exposed by a concerned citizen which led to the couple being arrested on Friday, the 23rd of April 2021.

Reports suggest that  in 2019 the two girls, who are cousins, were reportedly lured from Mozambique by their aunt under false pretence that they were going to receive a better education in South Africa. However, when they arrived in the country, they were allegedly subjected to rape, as well as gross human violations. According to allegations, the girls were literally kept as slaves by their own aunt and uncle at a house at Shatale near Bushbuckridge, which was supposed to be a warm home for them.

The sequence of events indicate that their aunt would often change the girls each at the time to sleep with her husband. She would allegedly often excuse herself from the bedroom and when the girls refused to obey, they would be severely assaulted and starved. When the elder girl narrated the ordeal, she said one night she hid herself inside a wardrobe out of fear and for those few hours, she was at least safe. However her freedom was short-lived as in the next morning, she was severely assaulted and sadly no one came to her rescue.

The girls also alleged that other members of the family back in Mozambique, were not aware of their ordeal. Their aunt is said to have ensured that each call made between the victims and their family at home in Mozambique, was personally monitored by her as she sat closely to hear all the conversations.

Finally, the girls managed to escape their horrific circumstances on Friday, the 23rd of April 2021, when their aunt and uncle went away for a while. It was then that they got a chance to sneak out of the house and reported the matter to the good Samaritan who in turn alerted police.

Preliminary investigation has revealed that the girls were illegally brought into the country without proper documentations hence an additional charge of contravention of the Immigration Act was added. The suspects are also facing a charge of human trafficking as well as conspiracy to commit crime.

Meanwhile the police, in collaboration with the Department of Social Development, moved the children to a place of safety where they will receive all care needed.

The Acting Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Major General Thulani Phahla has voiced his concern over incidents in which defenseless children are subjected to gross violation of their rights.

“This alleged incident shows a degree of moral decay in our society. Adults should protect children not abuse them, however, be that as it may, the law will definitely take its course, ” concluded General Phahla.

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