Cops worried about increasing child abuse

MPUMALANGA police are concerned about the increasing number of child abuse cases since December last year.

This follows the arrests of an elderly couple for the recent alleged rape of four daughters of a relative in Thandukukhanya, Piet Retief.

It also follows the torture of two minor boys accused of having stolen CDs, a 12-year-old girl allegedly being sold to grown-up men by her mother and a four-year-old girl tied to a tree last week by her mother when going to work.

The first three cases were reported last month and the alleged perpetrators arrested.

Captain Magonseni Nkosi of the Piet Retief police expressed concern about the incidence of child abuse cases in the area.

He appealed to local residents to be vigilant and report any case of child or woman abuse to the police so that the practice could be stopped.

On Wednesday a 76-year-old spiritual healer was arrested for allegedly having raped four minor children of his wife's sister.

The girls, aged 11, 13, 15 and 17, have since been kept at a local place of safety.

The pensioner appeared in the local magistrate's court on charges of rape on Friday.

His case was postponed to February 5 for further investigation and he was sent back into police custody.

Nkosi said on Thursday evening the police were alerted to the fact that local residents had attacked the spiritual healer's 61-year-old wife.

They accused her of turning a blind eye to the abuse that allegedly took place in her presence.

He said the couple had two houses on the same stand and, according to information reaching his office, the woman would sometimes leave the main house to go and sleep in the other when the alleged abuse occurred.

The mob wanted her to leave the area immediately and damaged her mud house and shack in an attempt to demolish them.

Nkosi said the polices' quick response saved the woman's life and stopped further damage to her property.

She is expected to appear in the local magistrate's court on a charge of failing to report the rapes.