‘Hideous’ attack on Bhongweni pupil

Eight-year-old boy victim of alleged rape in school toilet

WHERE IT HAPPENED: Police are investigating a case of statutory rape at Bhongweni Primary School involving an eight-year-old boy and a Grade 7 pupil Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

POLICE are investigating a case of statutory rape after an eight-year-old boy at Bhongweni Primary School in Alexandria reported an older male pupil at the same school for an alleged sexual attack.

It is alleged that the victim had visited the school bathroom – a dilapidated facility with no working toilets and overflowing sewage – to relieve himself when he was attacked by the older boy, reported to be in Grade 7.

The incident occurred on June 23 during school hours, between 8am and 1pm on the ground floor of the school building.

It is not clear if a school security guard interrupted the attack or if the victim ran to a school security guard after the alleged rape took place to report the attack.

An unnamed source described the incident as shocking, and said the family of the victim are overcome with horror at what happened to the eight-year old.

A source close to the investigation, said the incident, and the environment it took place in, “is just hideous”.

Provincial spokesman for the department of education, Malibongwe Mtima, condemned the incident and said the district was aware of what happened.

“We have learned of this matter. Due to the sensitivity of the case, the department has brought in psychologists to assist and offer counselling to the boys involved,” Mtima said.

He emphasised that the case was still under investigation and details sensitive to both children are not available before the case appears in court.

“We can’t name the learners. The case has been referred to the police for further investigation and the South African Council for Educators (SACE),” said Mtima.

SACE is the professional council for educators that aims to enhance the status of the teaching profession through appropriate registration, management of professional development and inculcation of a code of ethics for all educators.

Mtima said: “We [DoE] are at an advanced stage [of the investigation] but we can’t divulge too much before the matter appears in a court of law.”

He said the intention is to remove both pupils and have them placed in new learning environments after the school holidays, where they can have a fresh start.

Bhongweni Primary School principal Makhaya Matshisi was reluctant to comment, but said: “As a principal I have done my investigation and have submitted my report to the department”.

Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender confirmed the rape investigation. “The investigation is extremely sensitive and social workers have also been engaged. No arrests have been made,” she said.

This is a developing story.

 

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