'Justice is failing me': Mom feels hopeless after daughter raped, impregnated

A Vlakfontein mother is grieving the loss of her teenage daughter who recently passed away before she could get justice after being raped over a year ago.

Picture: Christa Eybers/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - A Vlakfontein mother is grieving the loss of her teenage daughter who recently passed away before she could get justice after being raped over a year ago.

The woman's daughter was raped when she was 14-years-old. She passed away on 8 April following a short illness.

The teenager told her family that the violation happened in December 2019. The teenager told her mother that she was lured to her alleged attacker’s home and promised money for a soft drink. The crime was reported to the police several months after the crime happened, when the family discovered that the girl was pregnant.

The mother told Eyewitness News last week that she had lost all hope in the authorities because child's alleged attacker still roamed the streets unperturbed. Plagued by despair, she said that her daughter was living in fear since she was raped, allegedly by a man who lived just a few blocks from their home in Vlakfontein, outside Soweto.

Despite reporting the matter to the police and her daughter undergoing the required tests over the past year, the mother claimed that no progress had been made in the case.

The teen, who left behind a six-month-old baby boy, was 16 when she passed away earlier this month, with her family still yearning for answers.

The teenager's mother recalled how she made the shocking discovery, by which time the girl was already four months pregnant. She noticed that her child had gained a lot of weight, and asked her to get closer so she could see what was going on.

"And then she came and I took down the zip, and that's when I saw the tummy," she said.

She said that her daughter told her the attacker threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

"She said 'Mummy, I'm scared. I'm scared to say anything to you because the person who did this said if I'm going to say anything to you or anyone, they're going to kill me and kill my family,'" she said.

She went to the Lenasia South Police Station to report the alleged rapist in April last year, where she said that she was shafted around trying to get the police to arrest her daughter's attacker and that she wanted answers from those she trusted.

"[We] waited for probably two hours, waiting for the child protection unit. Then eventually they came and they took [the teen's] statement," she said.

"I waited for two months. And then when the child was born, I waited again for another six months. Now the child is six months," she said.

The mother claimed that a police official even proposed that she deals with the crime by reaching out to the man's family.

"He asked me did we go and report the pregnancy to the family, like to the parents of this guy. I asked him how does that happen?

"At this present moment, where I'm sitting, I can see justice is failing me and I've come to a point whereby I've said, let nature take its course," she said.

'AN INVESTIGATION'S NOT SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS OVERNIGHT'

Gauteng police told Eyewitness News that they were not deliberately dragging the case, despite the girl’s mother's claims that a police officer told them to resolve the matter as a family. When pressed about why it took so long for the investigation to advance, spokesperson Noxolo Kweza said that investigators wanted to make sure that they had a water-tight case before effecting an arrest and taking the matter to court.

Kweza said DNA tests would be conducted soon as part of their investigation to be sure of the suspect. Allegations that a police official suggested that the family deal with the matter amongst themselves would also be looked into.

"[An] investigation is not something that happens overnight. Give us time to do a proper job. I understand the pain the parents are going through, the mother, in this instance."

Meanwhile, Women and Men Against Child Abuse (WMACA) said that it was unacceptable that many sexual abuse cases were dragging due to widespread inefficiencies. The WMACA's Ngaa Murombedzie said that police let the child's family down.

"The perpetrator is a known male. The family can provide that known male and even police can access that known male and get a DNA sample, which can be tested against the child."

She said that if sexual abuse cases took long to investigate, the chances of justice for victims got slimmer.

"The length of time in a sexual abuse case is going to have an impact on the possibility of getting justice."

The woman said that the pain of losing her daughter was worsened by the sight of the man suspected of hurting her walking free.

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