Boy (15) to relive horror of gang rape

The 12-year old has said he wants the case to be over so that he can get on with his life.
The 12-year old has said he wants the case to be over so that he can get on with his life.
Image: 123RF/Artit Oubkaew

A teenager who was allegedly gang-raped by five classmates in a school toilet in the Free State last year failed the June exams because he "struggles to concentrate in class".

The 15-year-old, now in grade 8 at a high school in Thaba Nchu, will relive his horrific ordeal when he returns to testify in the local magistrate's court on Monday. He already gave testimony in camera over five days in June.

Each of the five suspects - four of whom were 14 and one 13 at the time of the incident - face three counts of rape.

On August 22, the court ordered the parents of the accused to remove them from the magisterial district of Thaba Nchu and keep them with relatives elsewhere.

The accused were only allowed to return to the area on the days of the court case. The boy's 41-year-old unemployed mother said her son, who was still traumatised, was not coping with schoolwork.

"Today, he's in a good mood, tomorrow he's not."

In January, he suffered a serious setback after a group of pupils at his new school hurled hurtful remarks at him, the mother said. "They told him he enjoyed it when they raped him and it was all his fault."

The single parent, who ekes out a living selling vegetables, said her biggest worry was finding money to pay for a psychologist in Bloemfontein, about 70km away, whom her son had been seeing since last year.

"A private donor from Johannesburg paid for his seven visits to the psychologist last year, and the donor said she won't be able to assist anymore as she is out of work," she said.

She said he had passed all his exams last year after the sessions with the psychologist.

"He asked me the other day when are we going to see the doctor as he felt he could speak to him. The doctor [psychologist] used to call my son 'tiger'.

"Last week, he said he wants the case to be over so that he can get on with his life. He wants the perpetrators to be punished."

His mother claims the Free State education department did not offer him any counselling. Spokesperson Howard Ndaba said social workers were deployed to the school after the incident to provide counselling to the victim and to other pupils and teachers.

"Maybe it was not enough but it can't be true that we did not provide any support."

He said they supported the mother's decision for her son to see a psychologist in Bloemfontein: "The school governing body paid for the transport costs from Thaba Nchu to Bloemfontein and back."

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