'Uncle from hell hit me with spade'

Sipho Masombuka

Sipho Masombuka

A 26-year-old man is to appear in the Mamelodi magistrate's court today charged with assault after allegedly bashing his 15-year-old niece with a garden spade.

The suspect allegedly accused the girl of stealing his girlfriend's pants and then slapped, punched and kicked her to the ground before bashing her twice on the head with a garden spade.

The incident is alleged to have happened on Tuesday in Mamelodi West, Pretoria.

The girl said it was the fourth time in four months her uncle had attacked her.

"Last month he attacked me with a pick handle for the same reason.

"He beats me up, accusing me of being naughty and disobedient. I am so scared of him that I think of running away from home.

"Everybody is scared of him," she said.

The visibly traumatised Grade 9 schoolgirl, whose body is covered with scars allegedly resulting from the attacks, no longer stays with her grandfather. She has moved in with her aunt because her uncle allegedly threatened to deal with her as soon as he was released from custody.

The girl's aunt, Shadi Shiang, 38, said her brother was a "terrifying bully" who had physically attacked every member of the family.

"The whole family is scared of him. He once attacked my elderly father with an axe.

"I escaped the attacks when I got married five years ago.

"Reporting him to the police is useless because he would be arrested only to be released a day or two later to continue where he left off.

"I fear for my niece's life which is why I have decided to take her in," Shiang said.

But the girl's mother, Daisy Lerumo, said her daughter was an "unruly child who must be disciplined.

"I do not understand why my sister laid charges because this is a family matter. I told her not to lay charges but she went on with it because she does not get along well with my brother," Lerumo said.