A former patroller at a primary school in Soweto was on Wednesday acquitted of sexually abusing and raping young girls after the state failed to prove its case against him.
Johannes Molefe, 58, faced three counts of rape and 11 of sexual assault in the South Gauteng High Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court.
The girls claimed the abuse occurred in 2017. Most of them testified that Molefe had touched their private parts. He denied that he ever touched the girls.
Labelling the case a “comedy of errors”, judge Peet Johnson said the manner in which the teachers, police and Teddy Bear Clinic handled the children had contaminated the case.
“I have no doubt that they influenced each other one way or another,” he said.
The Gauteng department of education said it was saddened by the acquittal.
“It is quite a sad moment for us, but we need to respect the judgment,” department spokesperson Steve Mabona said outside court.
Molefe went on trial after he was accused of abusing young girls, aged between five and 13.
The judge said he was not satisfied that the state had proved its case and described the state and police investigations as “unsatisfactory”.
He said numerous errors were made during the trial and he questioned the credibility of several witnesses.
Mobona said, “It is an indication that when it comes to training our educators we need to do more.”
He said a process was already under way to ensure that educators underwent training to report these types of cases.
“All those elements we need to go back as the department to say, ‘When you receive such a complaint what is it that you need to do, how are you going to report it, who is going to be in charge?’ so that you don’t contaminate the case,” he added.
BY PERTUNIA MAFOKWANE AND IAVAN PIJOOS- TimesLIVE
Source: TMG Digital