KZN teenager arrested for allegedly abusing 8-year-old girl with towel
A 16-year-old boy from Mehlomnyama, on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, has been arrested by the police after he allegedly abused an eight-year-old girl, with a towel - causing severe bruises.
This after a public uproar was caused when disturbing pictures of the child's injuries emerged on social media at the weekend.
Police spokesperson Capt Nqobile Gwala said a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was opened for investigation by Mehlomnyama SAPS.
“It is alleged that on February 27, the Mehlomnyama police received information regarding an eight-year-old child who was being abused. The police proceeded to Emabheleni area where they met a woman who said she was the mother of the child. She informed the police that the child was assaulted by another child with a towel. She promised to resolve the matter among the children.”
The police have confirmed this woman is the girl's stepmother.
Gwala said new information emerged on Sunday when photos of the victim were circulated on the social media.
“The police immediately responded and the child was removed to a place of safety with the assistance of the social worker. A case was then opened.”
She said a 16-year-old boy, who is known to the family, was placed under arrest before being released into his parents’ custody.
“He will appear before the Port Shepstone magistrate's court on Thursday. The eight-year-old child will later be handed over to her biological mother.”
'Child abuse has no place in our society'
Social development MEC Nonhlanhla Khoza said she was disturbed to learn that the police had failed to arrest the perpetrator after the matter was reported to them by a community member.
“We dispatched a team of social workers, who with the assistance of the police removed the child and ensured her admission to hospital for urgent medical attention.
“Child abuse has no place in our society. We need to stand up and isolate those who abuse children and all those who are vulnerable. We must work better together if we are to end these cruel and barbaric acts against our children,” said Khoza.
The acting MEC for transport, community safety and liaison, Kwazi Mshengu, commended the police for arresting the alleged perpetrator.
“We have tasked police to secure justice for the minor victim and for detectives to put together a watertight case to ensure that the arrested perpetrator is harshly dealt with. We commend the member of the public who did not turn a blind eye to this case but timeously reported the matter.
“Abuse of women and children is a societal challenge that requires active citizenry so that it can be dealt with decisively, as police cannot do it alone.”
Mshengu echoed Khoza’s sentiments, calling for the public to stop circulating the disturbing pictures of the victim on social media, as the matter was receiving attention and it is illegal to publish pictures of a minor.
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