Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Is Mochudi a haven of rape, defilement?

By Mosidi Mokaeya

Mochudi village has been described by human rights activists as a haven for defilement and rape of young girls.

The community in areas around Mochudi has expressed concern about growing cases involving child sexual abuse as the perpetrators roam free and in most cases commit the same offences.

This publication has been alerted of a case in which a 15 year old young girl from Mochudi who was kidnapped for two days and repeatedly raped by a man claiming to be a prophet and a traditional doctor. The child was found at the man’s house after neighbours tipped the police off.

The accused person was arrested on the night and held in custody for a day before being released without the matter being registered before the courts.

Narrating the story, the young girl’s mother (names have been withheld for legal reasons) confirmed that the doctors did confirm the rape incident. She said that despite having gone to the social workers the child did not receive counselling. 

“The social worker said her office was waiting for a letter from the court or police to start providing counselling for my child. I then contacted Stepping Stones International (SSI) who then invited my daughter to the centre to see their social workers,” said Nkgedi.

For his part, Human Rights Advisor at SSI, Chirwah Mahloko confirmed knowledge of the case but declined to give details saying he was not authorised to speak to the press. He promised this publication a full interview after speaking to his superiors. He however confirmed that SSI followed up the case with all relevant service providers. Speaking about the state of child sexual abuse and exploitation in Kgatleng, Mahloko mentioned that on average SSI receives 3 cases of child sexual abuse and exploitation per week.

Mahloko expressed concern about rising cases of defilement in Mochudi and surrounding areas. According to him the victims end up finding solace at SSI because the police and social workers responsible take too long to bring the perpetrators to book and to ensure that victims get the much needed counselling. He said however it is not possible for SSI to rescue every single child.

 Meanwhile Station Commander at Mochudi Police Station Washington Zambezi told this publication that they do encounter such cases but said he does not think it is a crisis. He did however acknowledge that one case of child abuse of any kind is one too many. At the time of going to press, Zambezi did not have statistics figures to share.

“We do enjoy cordial relations with SSI as they regularly report child sexual to us although I do not have statistics handy. Admittedly at SSI they often lose heart as the law then becomes slow to take its cause. This is because the cases are always complex as they involve many players like social worker’s, courts and forensic scientists and the processes are long,” said Zambezi. 

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The Telegraph September 30

Digital edition of The Telegraph, September 30, 2020.