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Another horror child attack

21 January 2014
Philani Nombembe

A NINE-YEAR-OLD girl was fighting for her life in hospital yesterday after she was raped, set alight and left to die in bushes in Delft on the Cape Flats

A 27-year-old man, who allegedly laughed as she burnt, has been arrested in connection with the horror child-rape incident reminiscent of the Anene Booysen saga.

He will appear in the Bellville Magistrate's Court today.

The Grade 3 pupil, who disappeared on the way to her father's house on Saturday, was found badly burnt and barely alive on rocks on Sunday afternoon.

She had been tied up, raped, throttled and set on fire.

She was admitted to the intensive care unit at the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town.

A search had been launched when the little girl failed to turn up at her father's house.

The next day, a neighbour told her grandmother that a child had been found in the nearby bush.

The 57-year-old woman wept uncontrollably as she told how she had untied her badly injured granddaughter on Sunday.

"I thought she was dead, but she asked for water when she saw me," the woman said.

"She was badly burnt but she could speak. She told me that she had begged the man not to kill her but he strangled her, drenched her with fuel and set her alight. She said he laughed as she burnt."

Residents later apprehended a man who allegedly had blood stains on his pants and a burnt T-shirt.

The grandmother survives on a state grant and can barely afford the taxi fare to visit the child in hospital or attend court.

The shocking attack adds to a growing list of child-rape cases around the country recently.

Booysen, 17, was raped and disembowelled in Bredasdorp and died in hospital last year.

This month, a 37-year-old father appeared in the Pietermaritzburg Magistrate's Court for raping his 17-year-old daughter.

He allegedly heated a spear in a fire and stuck it in her private parts.

Last year, a man was arrested in the Northern Cape for allegedly raping his six-week-old niece.

Childline SA national coordinator Joan van Niekerk described the spate of child rapes as a "war on our children".

"It is totally out of hand," she said.

"We have had some really bad decisions made by politicians when it comes to prevention and dealing with sexual offences, and a lot of money follows those decisions.

"The 16 Days of Activism for no Violence Against Women and Children costs this country a fortune, and yet there is no evidence that it actually produces the results we would like to see - which is the kind of awareness and change of attitude which results in the protection of children and women," she said.

Western Cape Community Safety MEC Dan Plato condemned the incident.

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