Police have arrested a 16-year-old boy in connection with the abuse of an 8-year-old girl after footage showing the girl’s scars went viral.
DURBAN – A 16-year-old boy has been arrested for allegedly brutally abusing an eight-year-old girl in Mehlomnyama area, on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast.
Disturbing pictures of the badly bruised girl had been circulating on social media at the weekend.
According to a neighbour, who shared the gruesome images on social media, the child had been constantly assaulted.
The neighbour, who is not being named to protect the identity of the child, added that the police had been informed about the situation by community members, but no action had been taken.
“The child is constantly being beaten every day and she had terrible wounds. When I saw her, she was in serious pain and could not even sit down due to the injuries she had all over her body,” said the neighbour.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said a case of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm was opened for investigation by Mehlomnyama SAPS.
Gwala said, on Saturday, police received information regarding an eight-year-old child who was allegedly being abused.
She said that the police proceeded to the 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,” she said.
However, said Gwala, new information emerged when photos of the victim were circulated on social media on Sunday.
She said the police went back to the family and the child was removed to a place of safety, with the assistance of a social worker.
“A case was then opened. A 16-year-old boy, who is a relative, was arrested and was released into the parents’ custody.
Gwala said that the suspect would appear before the Port Shepstone Magistrate’s Court on Thursday.
The KZN MEC for Social Development Nonhlanhla Khoza condemned the incident and said it was disturbing to learn that police allegedly failed to arrest the perpetrator after the matter was initially reported to them by a community member.
“We have been taken aback by the abuse of the child. We are not going to sit idly but will ensure that all those involved in the abuse of this child get arrested and prosecuted, she added.
Khoza also urged the public to stop circulating the pictures of the child on social media, as the matter was receiving attention.
Acting MEC for Community Safety and Liaison Kwazi Mshengu said police had been directed to ensure that those responsible for the abuse and assault of an eight-year-old child were brought to justice.
“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 are pleased that after being discharged from hospital, the victim has been housed in a place of safety, where she will receive care and psychosocial support while police continue with their investigation,” added Mshengu.