A 17-year-old suspect was arrested on Tuesday morning for the alleged rape of a 12-year-old Grade 7 learner who was allegedly assaulted after being sent home from school for not having a face mask.
Police spokesperson, Colonel Thembeka Mbele said a case of rape was opened at Donnybrook Police Station in KwaZulu-Natal and that the case would be transferred to the Port Shepstone FCS Unit.
It is alleged that yesterday at 8am, a 12-year-old girl was raped by a suspect while at Mahohoho area in Donnybrook, Mbele said. He added that the suspect would appear in the Ixopo Magistrate’s Court.
The KwaZulu-Natal department of education has said that it was disturbed by the incident of the alleged rape of a Grade 7 learner.
In a statement on Tuesday, the department said the Grade 7 learner was from Mnyamana Primary School in Bulwer under the Harry Gwala District.
It said the learner had reported to school on Monday without a face mask.
At the screening point at the school premises, the learner was then sent back home, the department said.
“She did indicate that she stays not very far from the school and she ran to fetch [the mask],” the statement reads.
The learner reported that she had been raped when she returned to school and then the principal took her to the clinic and the matter was reported to the police, the department said.
“As a department, we are giving the learner the socio-psychological support and we condemn this barbaric and painful act by the perpetrator,” the department said, adding that it was working with the police to apprehend the suspect.
KwaZulu-Natal MEC for education Kwazi Mshengu called on the community of the area with information to assist the police to come forward.
“We would like to appeal to parents to ensure that when children leave home they are wearing masks at all times not only for compliance at school but for their safety,” Mshengu said.
(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)