Task team hunts child rapist

Tebogo Monama

Tebogo Monama

Police have set up a special task team to hunt self-confessed child rapist, Paul Mofokeng, who escaped from custody nearly a month ago.

Today marks 26 days since Mofokeng, 26, escaped from the Protea magistrate's courts holding cells on November 14 - when his case was postponed.

The day also marks the end of the 16 Days of Activism of no Violence against Women and Children campaign.

But for a six-year-old Mofolo, Soweto girl, justice has yet to be seen to be done.

Gauteng police spokesman Captain Julia Claassen said that she believed that the SAPS was doing all it could to find Mofokeng.

"It is one of our priority cases and we have dispatched a task team to search for him," Claassen said.

Police searched for Mofokeng in Deje, an informal settlement in Soshanguve, Pretoria, where he was first arrested in September after a tip-off from the public. Mofokeng also goes by the name of Vusi Zwane.

After his disappearance, two police officers who were on duty on the day he escaped were arrested but later released because of lack of evidence. No one else has been held responsible for the escape. Police promised to move the girl to a place of safety but decided that it was better if she stayed with a relative.

She is now living with her aunt and is due for a womb operation on January 16.

Her mother said: "Now that she is with my sister, I feel so much better. She is also looking happier and more relaxed."

She said that next week she would go to Mpumalanga with the girl and return in time for her operation.

Delphine Serumaga, director of People Opposing Women Abuse, said: "This is one of the many stories that we receive in terms of noncompliance of police in dealing with women and children who have experienced abuse."

Serumaga said this is not the first time that police have failed a young rape victim.

Daniel Mabote raped seven-year-old Mamokgethi Setati in November 1996, was arrested and refused bail four times. When it was finally granted, Mabote abducted and murdered the girl on March 25 1997, the day before she was due to testify against him.

He was only rearrested four months later.

Within two weeks of being sent to Sterkfontein Mental Hospital for psychiatric observation, Mabote escaped from an unguarded courtyard on December 28 1997.