A 13-year-old black girl, who was allegedly called a “k*****” and assaulted by a middle-aged white man in Kraaifontein three weeks ago, still wakes up screaming in the middle of the night, say her family.
Her older brother said he had to explain to her what the word meant after she asked about it.
The family accused the Kraaifontein police of trying to get them to drop the case, but the police say they have now arrested a man and he will appear in court today, Wednesday November 23.
The child, who may not be identified because she is a minor, has missed a week of school, and her family say she wakes in the middle of the night with panic attacks.
The girl said she and her friends had been walking home to Bloekombos from the Kraaifontein library on Monday October 31, when the man chased her and her friends down the street because they had been making a noise in the quiet suburb of Peerless Park North.
The girl said her friends got away, but he grabbed her by the arm and called her a “k*****” and swore at her.
According to at least three accounts – from one of the man’s neighbours, an eyewitness; a community activist; and the girl’s family – the man grabbed the teen by the scruff of her neck and hit her head against a pole “at least three times” before dragging the powerless girl into his yard.
Returning to the street, albeit reluctantly, the girl described to Northern News how the man had choked her and banged her head against the pole several times.
She had been unable to speak or eat afterwards, she said.
It had taken a heavily pregnant woman to stop the attack, said the man’s neighbour who wished to remain anonymous.
The neighbour said the man had also tried to drag the girl into his yard where he had about four big dogs.
“One of our neighbours, who is six months pregnant, confronted him and tried to get him off , but he would not have it.
“Shortly before that, he had banged her head against a post three times,” the neighbour said.
The girl managed to ask the neighbour to contact her older brother, who arrived within minutes.
“When I got there, I feared the worst. When I saw her covered in a blanket, lying there almost lifelessly, I thought she was dead,” said her brother.
The neighbour had covered his sister with a blanket.
“She spoke very softly, as if she was dying,” he said.
He took his sister to the Kraaifontein Day Hospital, where she was assessed and given a medical report to give to the police.
But this was the start of a long and frustrating process, the girl’s brother said.
He claimed the police had sent the family from pillar to post and they had only received the case number 12 days later.
Even more alarmingly, he said, the police had advised the family to drop the case because “it was weak” and even if it did go to court and the man was found guilty he would only get a R150 fine.
“I was shocked when they told us that,” he said.
Nomlungisi Qezo, Social Justice Coalition provincial organiser, said the police had been useless.
She said she was astounded that the Northern News could easily find the witness for an interview while the police claimed they had been trying to get hold of her for more than three weeks.
Provincial police spokeswoman Constable Noloyiso Rwexana said Kraaifontein police had recorded a case of common assault on Monday October 31 and the victim had been interviewed on Wednesday November 2.
The man had been arrested on Tuesday November 15 and would appear in court tomorrow today November 23.
Constable Rwexana, advised the family to address any complaints they had with the handling of the case to the Kraaifontein police management.
The SJC said it would picket outside the Kuils River Magistrate’s Court today.
Ms Qezo said she had lobbied the Bloekombos community to join the protest.