'Pupils had no reason to lie about abuse'

AB Xuma Primary School in Soweto was rocked by a scandal ofsexual abuse of young girls by a school patroller. /SANDILE NDLOVU
AB Xuma Primary School in Soweto was rocked by a scandal ofsexual abuse of young girls by a school patroller. /SANDILE NDLOVU

The 12 Soweto schoolgirls who accused a patroller at AB Xuma Primary School of sexual abuse had no reason to lie about the abuse.

This was a submission made by prosecutor Jackie Steyn during closing arguments in the trial of Johannes Molefe, 58, who is accused of three counts of rape and 11 of sexual assault.

Steyn told the South Gauteng High Court sitting in Palm Ridge yesterday that the children trusted Molefe who in turn allegedly abused them.

"They were fond of the accused. [A witness] testified that he used to help them cross the road," she said.

Steyn said although some of the children's testimonies in court were inconsistent with statements they made to police, this did not mean they were lying.

She said the case must be looked at in its totality.

She denied allegations that there was a plot to get rid of Molefe or the school principal Maria Mthimkhulu, who earlier testified that some parents and teachers did not want her and Molefe at the school.

Steyn said this did not mean nothing happened to the girls.

She said there were initially 54 children on the list of complainants and the number was brought down to 12 victims when most children said nothing happened to them.

"They said he only spoke to me and others said 'he only touched my bum'. There must have been a misunderstanding while compiling the list. If this was a plot, one would expect all the 54 children to say he did something," she said.

Molefe's lawyer Lumka Qoqo said the children were not telling the truth.

"Children could be easily contaminated. If these children spontaneously reported [the abuse], it was something. These children were expected to say something and they did."

Judge Peet Johnson postponed the case to later this week for Qoqo's closing arguments.

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