THE family of a 10-year-old girl has lashed out at the justice system after a 64-year-old neighbour who allegedly raped her for nine months was released - and raped the girl again.
The child's grandmother, who cannot be named to protect the child, said she was made aware of the alleged rape in September last year after her Grade 2 granddaughter arrived home late from school in Mandeni, KwaZulu-Natal.
"She could hardly walk and I confronted her, demanding the truth, but she would not answer," she said.
"I started whipping her and she confessed that our neighbour had slept with her."
The grandmother said she nearly fainted when the young girl further said that she had been raped since the beginning of the year.
The girl alleged that the man would wait for her near a playground in the morning, give her R2 and tell her to come to his house after school where he would rape her and then give her another R2 not to tell anyone .
The girl's father said when he was informed of what the neighbour, whom he looked up to as a father, had done to his child, he was badly hurt.
"I went to Sundumbili police station to lay a charge and police took statements from the child and my mother. The suspect was later arrested," the distraught father said.
He said they were shocked when the child started misbehaving and returning late from school in February this year.
The child's grandmother interrogated her and she initially claimed that there was a school project she had to do after school. But when the granny went to school to enquire about this project, teachers denied it.
"On the same day, she arrived home late and when my mother confronted her, she lied about the school project not knowing that [her grandmother] had been to school. When she threatened to whip her again, she confided that mkhulu (grandfather) had been waiting for her and he took her to his house where he slept with her," the father said.
The family reported this to social workers and established that the suspect had been granted bail.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Vincent Mdunge confirmed that the other case was opened last year and the suspect was arrested.
The case was sent to Eshowe Magistrate's Court for trial preparations.
The suspect appeared in court and the case was further postponed to November 22. On that day, the case was postponed to January 16.
In January, it was struck off the roll because the prosecutor was not satisfied with certain aspects of the case.
He raised questions about why the rape was alleged to have happened in January but the case was only opened nine months later and instructed the investigating officer to get further evidence.
The investigating officer returned to the family and the victim to get further statements and those statements were then included into the case docket.
The docket was sent to the senior public prosecutor for a decision.
"As things stand, we are waiting for the senior prosecutor's decision," Mdunge said.
"This matter is receiving the utmost attention and I can assure the family that we are taking it seriously."