MAKING IT SAFER: About 45 volunteers took up pangas, wheelbarrows and spades to clear a field in Station Hill on Friday where a four-year-old boy was allegedly raped at the end of January Picture: TERRI STANDER
THE alleged rape of a four-year-old boy on a field opposite Port Alfred Primere Skool in Station Hill in January motivated a call for action from a councillor to clear the field of bush and make it safer for the children of the area.
Police spokeswoman Captain Mali Govender said a case of rape was currently being investigated after the alleged incident took place between the January 31 and February 1 this year.
“The alleged perpetrator in this case is a juvenile (who) is in the custody of his parents. Details of the incident are not known as the docket is currently at court. The case is remanded to the September 3 2012,” reported Govender.
According to the mother of the victim, she did not go to work as she was not feeling well on the day the incident occurred, and kept her son from attending crèche so he could be with her.
“He normally plays in the front garden but on this day a neighbour, an older boy of 15, offered him sweets to go with him to the field opposite the school,” she said. “I didn’t know anything about it and only realised something might have happened the next day when I was putting his underwear in the wash.”
She said she noticed blood and other dried fluid in her son’s underpants and, with growing trepidation, suspected something was terribly wrong.
“I questioned my son and he told me the (older boy) had raped him,” she said.
The police were immediately called and a social worker assigned to question the four-year-old. A case of rape was then opened.
The alleged perpetrator briefly appeared in-camera at the Port Alfred Magistrate’s Court on Friday, and was remanded to the custody of his mother until September 3. Consequently, he is still free to wander around Station Hill.
“But my son cannot go out,” said his mother who is also seeing a psychologist due to the trauma of the incident. “I was not even allowed in court on Friday, and I’m furious that, while my son is now kept like a prisoner inside our home, his attacker is allowed to roam free.”
A neighbour, Janine Backward, said the community of Station Hill had been shocked by the incident.
“It is not the first time a horrific attack like this has occurred in Station Hill,” she said, referring to the gang rape and murder of five year-old Rayno Ruiters in November 2008 by three teenage boys. “The community needs to take the necessary steps to ensure such things never happen.”
DA councillor Terri Stander was appalled when, at the end of February, she heard about the incident and initiated a plan to clear the field of bush to prevent similar incidents from occurring in the future.
“Children often wait on that field after school for their parents to collect them,” said Stander.
She called Ndlambe’s department of community protection services to initiate a cleanup and was informed that, due to lack of funds, they would be unable to assist. They did, however, give her permission to clear the field herself.
With the help of Ndlambe’s chief environmental officer Fanie Fouche and Gary Mackay from Talisman who lent weed eater machines, pangas and the use of his four-ton truck for cartage, Stander, together with about 45 volunteers, set about clearing the field of bush last Friday.
Justin Arthur of Kwikspar sponsored polony rolls and mix juice for the volunteers, Oasis Water loaned two containers for water, D&A Timbers sponsored four pairs of heavy-duty gloves and Station Hill Clinic sponsored a box of surgical gloves and masks.
Ndlambe community protection services collected the cleared vegetation amounting to 10 skip loads.