WHILE the community of Thaba Nchu is still in shock after a boy was allegedly gang raped by five boys, all aged 13, at a primary school, social workers have been deployed to the school.
The incident occured last week at Namanyane Primary in the school’s toilets.
The education department spokesperson, Howard Ndaba, said five Grade 7 boys who apparently operate as a gang in the school approached the victim as he was about to go out of the school gates and told him that the ring leader wanted to see him in the toilet.
“When he got to the toilet undressed, assaulted and raped him, taking turns. The boys are believed to be gang members of a certain group in the area and have been terrorising other pupils for a long time," he said.
Ndaba said following the rape the parents of the victim suspected something was wrong because he could not walk properly and took him to the doctor who confirmed that indeed he had been raped and there was penetration. He said the boys had previously been suspended for a week for bullying other pupils. Ndaba said an internal investigation would be conducted.
“We contacted social workers and will provide their services to the victim and the entire school because most of the pupils are traumatised as a result of the rape,” he said.
Ndaba said school was a place to learn, not to promote gangs.
“What happened at that school is unacceptable and the department has launched a massive investigation into the matter,” he said.
Ndaba said they would hold a meeting with the school governing body this week to look at ways to have proper safety measures not only in the affected school but schools across the province.
Police spokesperson Sgt Martin Xuma confirmed the boys were arrested at the weekend and appeared briefly in the Thaba Nchu Magistrate’s Court on Monday, where the case was postponed. He said the boys were charged with rape and assault.
Yesterday the boys were being assessed by a probations officer and because they are minors, the assessment will determine the next step. Thaba Nchu is a stone’s throw away from Botshabelo, an area that has been engulfed by gang violence in the past few years.
A number of schools closed after acts of violence and intimidation between a youth gang and Botshabelo residents. The Born To Kill (BTK) gang terrorised communities by wielding guns and knives. They also vandalised property and attacked pupils in various townships. Residents in the area accused the youths, aged 17 to 19, of being members of BTK, which had terrorised schools.
A number of them were arrested, with some sentenced with up to 50 years in jail after police and the provincial government intensified their efforts to curb gang violence.