Girl wants dad jailed

KHETHIWE (not her real name) would like to see her father behind bars.

KHETHIWE (not her real name) would like to see her father behind bars.

The 15-year-old is deadpan as she speaks of her father, Gift, in her mother's modest home in one of t northern Johannesburg's informal settlements.

"I wish the court had never let him out," she said

Gift was on trial for nearly four years, charged with allegedly raping his eldest daughter.

Gift had allegedly chased Khethiwe's mother, Patricia, out of the house they had shared for more than 10 years after an argument.

"He would hit me in front of our children. He got angry because I wanted to look for work to augment our income," Patricia said.

While Patricia was away Gift allegedly raped Khethiwe in the presence of her younger siblings.

"I was sleeping on the floor with my sisters when he woke me up and told me to come sleep with him on his bed.

"He forced himself on me and threatened to kill me if I told anyone about what he had done," Khethiwe said.

It was only after she told a teacher that she got help.

A volunteer at the National Children and Violence Trust (NCVT), a nongovernmental organisation in Fourways that offers trauma support and counselling to victims of violence and abuse, helped Khethiwe and her mother to report the crime to the police.

Gift was eventually arrested. But the case dragged on for more than four years, delayed by postponements.

Khethiwe was not called to testify. The NCVT said as a result Gift was freed by the Pretoria magistrate's court. It felt that the case had gone on for too long with little evidence to convict Gift.

NCVT spokesperson Renias Muwando regretted not helping Khethiwe and her family get justice.

They gave court support services to Khethiwe and her family by informing them of court appearances and by communicating with the investigating officer.

NCVT also offers trauma counselling and management and a school wellness programme in Lanseria, Diepsloot, Cosmo City and Nooitgedacht.

Muwando said it was through its school outreach and awareness campaigns that NCVT was able to reach out to abused children and help.