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A four-year-old KwaZulu-Natal girl, who has accused her 17-year-old cousin of repeatedly raping her, is receiving trauma counselling at Bethesda Hospital.
The abuse, which is said to have taken place for six months, was discovered on Tuesday by a community member who informed the police about the incident.
The police said the child's mother, who lives and works in Pongola, had left the child in the care of her aunt, the mother of the suspect.
"The aunt works at the sugar- cane plantations and leaves home early in the morning," said police spokesman Jabulani Mdletshe.
"The suspect always waited for her mother to leave at 5am and sneaked into the victim's bed and raped her."
Mdletshe said the child told police that the abuse has been happening since the beginning of this year.
"She also said that the suspect threatened to kill her if she reported the matter to anyone," Mdletshe said.
"The victim also told the police she had been raped within hours of the suspect being arrested on Tuesday."
Women's organisations have expressed shock and disgust at the continued victimisation of children.
Cookie Edwards, of the Network against Violence on Women and Children, said the continuing rape of children was an indication that there was a need for more awareness campaigns.
"Communities must be involved to ensure the safety of the children," she said.
The suspect appeared in the Ubombo magistrates' court on Wednesday and the case was postponed until today.