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Dros rape-accused appears in court

The 20-year-old man accused of raping a child appears at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
The 20-year-old man accused of raping a child appears at the Pretoria Magistrate's Court.
Image: Thulani Mbele

The Pretoria Magistrate's Court has granted media permission to take still photographs of the 20-year-old man accused of raping a child at a Dros restaurant.

Although the man has not pleaded to charges, his defence's argument that the use of his pictures in court could fuel racial tensions was rejected.

The 20-year-old accused stood in the dock‚ wearing a grey sweater and black jeans‚ with a visible cut on his right ear‚ down the side of his neck. He looked downcast‚ licking his lips and fidgeting‚ with his hands crossed in front of his stomach.

Onlookers outside the court tried to get a peek of the accused inside the court through a window in the door‚ with the odd cellphone camera flashing. The hair of the accused has been shaved off completely.

Tshwane mayor Solly Msimanga arrived at the court building‚ where political parties and onlookers had gathered in numbers. Roads around the court were closed and there was a heavy police presence.

Protesters, political parties and human rights organisations gathered in front of the Pretoria Magistrate’s Court, where a 20-year-old man accused of raping a child at a Dros restaurant appeared.

Msimanga‚ who met with the family of the victim‚ said they were “taking it very very hard”. Msimanga said he met with members of the family on Monday to offer support. The mother was not available for the meeting.

“We will continue to offer whatever support they need from us in this particular time. The engagement was very heartbreaking‚ because you have an innocent child that doesn’t know what is happening around them‚” he said.

“You feel a sense of wanting to do more but you don’t know what more you can do.”

He said when he engaged with the South African Police Service‚ he was told that there were signs that a rape had occurred at the restaurant.

Different political parties‚ civic organisations and others joined hands outside court in a show of solidarity against rape. Bikers against child abuse were also in attendance. The streets outside court echoed with the revving sound of motorcycles.

The suspect stands accused of raping a six-year-old girl in the bathroom of a Dros restaurant in Pretoria. He made his first appearance in court last Tuesday after the incident‚ which took place on September 22. The case was postponed for seven days for further investigation.

He faces a charge of rape‚ possession of drugs‚ intimidation and assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

The man allegedly watched the little girl in the restaurant play area and later followed her to the bathroom. According to patrons‚ the mother of the child went looking for her after she noticed she was not in the play area. She allegedly caught her daughter’s attacker in the act.

A video‚ purportedly taken moments after the rape ordeal‚ depicted a naked man who was partly covered in blood. The government has called on people not to share the “disturbing” video.

The EFF’s Tshwane region has called for the man to be denied bail. The ANC Women’s League in Gauteng also added its voice to calls that the man be denied bail.

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