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The uncle of a 13-year-old girl could lose the right to have his orphaned niece living with him and his wife because they are allegedly abusing her.
Social workers and teachers at a Mpumalanga school are looking at ways of helping the orphan who has allegedly been abusedfor the past eight months.
The girl's parents died last year and in January she moved in with her uncle and his wife.
The girl's dilemma came to light when her teachers at the Dikgabo Combined School noticed that she was not concentrating in class and was always crying.
The school is in Lefiso village near Marapyane in the KwaMhlanga area.
The teachers asked the girl why she looked troubled and she told them about her ordeal. The teachers took her to a social worker.
Social workers say the girl answered all the questions they asked her.
One teacher, who asked not to be named, told Sowetan yesterday: "She said her uncle's wife beat her, called her names and referred to her as useless."
The girl and her her eight-year-old brother are forced to live with relatives.
Her brother now lives with his granny in Musina, Limpopo.
Dikgabo principal William Kgarabyae said yesterday that the child showed signs of malnutrition.
The school management had already visited her family to try and resolve the matter.
Mpumalanga department of social services spokesman Mpho Gabashane said his department had provided the girl with food and a school uniform but she still lived with her uncle.