Family of 4-year-old allegedly sexually assaulted by neighbour say case was closed without their knowledge

SABC News Child Rape - Family of 4-year-old allegedly sexually assaulted by neighbour say case was closed without their knowledge

The family of a four-year-old child, who was sexually assaulted, allegedly by a female neighbour, have complained that the case was closed without their knowledge. The incident happened at Ga-Mphahlele outside Lebowakgomo, Limpopo, in February.

The child’s family say they were never called to testify in court and were shocked to learn this week that the case is struck off the roll.

The child’s relatives say the incident happened when she went to the neighbour’s home to play with other children. It is alleged that the child informed her mother what had happened and the suspect was confronted.

The sexual assault was confirmed both at the local clinic and hospital.

The woman was charged with rape and granted R500 bail by the Lebowakgomo Magistrate’s Court.

Spokesperson for the victim’s family, who cannot be identified, says they were not kept abreast with court proceedings. She says they were shocked to learn this week that the case was over and the suspect was free.

“The child’s mother received a call from the investigating officer informing her the case was closed. She asked how because she and the child never appeared in court. The police officer told her to contact the prosecutor handling the case. The prosecutor first laughed at her enquiry, then said the officer was mistaken as the case was only provisionally withdrawn. But he couldn’t provide reasons.”

The relative says they are unhappy with the manner in which the prosecutors have handled the case and they demand justice. She adds that the child and her mother are struggling to cope.

“It seems like they are hiding something from us. I feel like they want to sweep the case under the carpet. It’s hard because the child never received counselling and often has nightmares involving the suspect. She has become withdrawn. The mother is frustrated because the case is not being taken serious. She is unable to keep calm.”

The family says they have contacted the National Prosecuting Authority to lay a complaint.

Meanwhile, Spokesperson for the NPA in Limpopo, Mashudu Malabi-Dzhangi, says the case has not been closed, but provisionally withdrawn. She, however, says the reasons will only be shared with the family.

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