Petros: School rape investigation continues

The investigation into the alleged rape of a Johannesburg schoolgirl by two boys, age 14 and 16, is continuing, the Gauteng police said on Wednesday.

Provincial Police Commissioner Lieutenant General Mzwandile Petros said police had video footage but it needed to be analysed and linked to statements.

“We are dealing with minors so we exercising sensitivity,” he said.

“All allegations are being investigated. I will be getting a daily report on the progress of the investigation, we won’t put it away.”

Mzwandile said he was happy with the way the police had handled the situation so far and with the way the investigation was going.

The commissioner and Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko were addressing the media in Johannesburg on the Jules High School incident.

Three boys allegedly gave a doctored drink to two girls on Thursday and then raped one of them, aged 15, while it was filmed on cellphones.

The alleged attack occurred during school hours.

The girl only identified two of the boys and they were arrested on Monday.

Both boys are Grade 9 pupils. One of them is a pupil at the school where the alleged attack occurred and the other is a pupil at New Nation School near Auckland Park.

They were released from police custody on Tuesday.

“We did not place the case on the court roll as further investigation needed to be done,” National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) spokesperson Mthunzi Mhaga said.

“As much as we appreciate the sensitivity of the matter there is just not enough evidence hence the decision not to proceed with the matter at this stage.”

Untrue reports
Mazibuko said reports about the dropping of charges against the boys were untrue. Her spokesperson Dumisani Ngema said that the MEC meant that this was because there were no charges since the case had not yet been taken to court.

Mazibuko said, “The need to ensure that justice is served is important. We are determined to see this case through and ensure that justice is dispensed. This is crucial to demonstrate to communities and the public that our criminal justice system is capable of punishing those who wrong society,” she said.

The police were working together with the NPA to prepare a “proper, watertight, prosecutable and winnable case”.

Mazibuko said the province’s primary concern was protecting the girl. The public’s “anxiety and expectation” surrounding the case was understandable and the department would keep updating the media on the progress of the investigation, she said.

“It is about the ability of the criminal justice system to act in a way that is protective of the vulnerable,” she said.

The provincial department of education would also continue with its own internal investigation regarding the conduct of teachers and issues of school governance, Mazibuko said.

Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa on Wednesday said reports that he had issued instructions for the boys to be arrested were not true.

The Star newspaper reported that Mthethwa issued an instruction for the boys to be arrested, and this was done, the source said, adding that political pressure led to the unlawful arrest of the minors.

“To even attribute such as quote to a faceless source, that on its own raises serious suspicions”, his spokesman Zweli Mnisi said in a statement.

“Such unbalanced reporting is not only misleading to the public but further [exacerbates] undeserved trauma to the affected victim.”—Sapa



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