Carletonville creche caregiver found guilty of assault
A Carletonville creche employee who was captured assaulting three toddlers has been found guilty on two counts of common assault and one count of assault with intention to do grievous bodily harm.
Neli Senwametsi was found guilty at the Oberholzer Regional Court on the charges on Tuesday.
This was after she was captured assaulting the toddlers in three separate videos in April last year.
Ngaa Murombedzi from the anti-abuse organisation Women and Men Against Child Abuse said they appreciated the efforts invested by the state and the police in concluding investigations and securing a conviction in the matter.
"It has been a long journey which has seen Women and Men Against Child Abuse, the Merafong Community and the parents of the three young victims apply constant pressure to the SAPS, investigating officers and the previous prosecutor Mr Manu Nemavola to get this case going. We appreciate the efforts of Adv Magwatha who took over this case earlier this year.”
Miranda Jordan from the same organisation said they were pleased with the conviction.
“However, we find the conviction of two counts of common assault unsatisfactory as they do not reflect the severity of the abuse inflicted on these children. We would have liked to see the accused convicted of three counts of assault GBH,” Jordan said.
“In light of the high levels of violence against women and children in South Africa, we want a very strong message to have been communicated by the judiciary to communities through the conviction of Senwametsi. We know from research children who experience this amount of violence experience lasting emotional trauma and that should be considered when dealing with perpetrators of violence against children,” she said.
Sentencing proceedings are scheduled to take place on September 10 and 11.
Victim impact statements are also expected to be collected.
“We want Senwametsi to receive a 10-year prison sentence as mandated by the minimum prescribed sentence for assault GBH on a child under the age of 16,” Jordan said.
In the three videos that went viral, the dialogue heard in the videos indicated that one of the toddlers was beaten for vomiting, while another was beaten for not wanting to sleep.
The clips show how the caregiver repeatedly smacked the children on the buttocks, slapped them over their heads with open hands, beat one on the head with a wooden scrubbing brush and grabbed them by the collars.
One of the children was seen being grabbed and thrown on to the carpet, where the caregiver is then seen putting her foot on the little boy's head.
A parent of one of the children who was filmed being assaulted, however, told SowetanLIVE that she had confronted the principal with her suspicions after her child, who at times came home with bruises, repeatedly cried when she was being dropped off.
"When I reported this to the principal, she said my daughter is an emotional person and I am overreacting," the woman said.
Her daughter was 17 months old when she was first enrolled at the crèche. She was there for seven months.
"I took her out of the crèche two months ago. It was because of instinct. Every mom has that instinct. I couldn't force her to go back there because she was not the same child anymore," she said.
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