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The mother of a 12-year-old boy accused of raping a five-year-old toddler says she is happy that the police have released her son into her custody.
The suspect appeared in the Verulam magistrate's court on Tuesday and is due to appear again on November 20.
The incident, which shocked the community of Inanda, allegedly happened at the weekend. The boy's mother, who cannot be named to protect both the suspect and the victim, said she was relieved for now.
"I am glad he is back home. I am not saying that if he has done something wrong he should not be punished. The fact that he will be staying with me until his next court appearance, is a relief," she said.
But the community is not happy. Soon after the alleged incident, angry residents destroyed the crèche building. They also vowed not to send their children to the crèche. But the suspect's mother insists the actions were unfair.
"They beat up my son and destroyed the crèche. They have judged him before the court could make a ruling. This is wrong. What if he is acquitted?" she asked.
Childline spokesman Linda Naidoo said there has been a drastic increase of children committing violent crimes against other children. She attributed this violent behaviour to children being in possession of pornography, being exposed to violence or sexual behaviour in their communities at a young age.
"These children grow up in violent neighbourhoods and end up copying the same offences on other young kids," said Naidoo.
She said another contributing factor was the lack of supervision by parents.
"Parents must know where their children are at all times. They must know what they are exposed to. Children must be controlled and well looked after," Naidoo said.