CHURCHES are considered sacred places of worship. They are also a refuge for those who want healing or forgiveness for their sins. But instead of being a safe haven, a well-known church in the west of Joburg has become the scene of a crime!
This comes after a six-year-old girl was allegedly raped by a church caretaker on Saturday, 14 August.
According to Gauteng cop spokesman Captain Kay Makhubela, the girl was allegedly lured onto the church premises by the caretaker, who then raped her.
It is reported that after she was raped, she told a member of the public, who then alerted the cops.
“The police were called and acted swiftly by arresting the suspect on the spot. A rape case was opened at the Roodepoort cop shop and the case is being investigated by the family violence, children protection and sexual offences specialised unit,” he said.
The South African Council of Churches has called for churches to have policies that deal with sexual assault cases and gender-based violence.
Council spokesman Prophet George Mahlobo said they condemned this cruel act.
He said churches were supposed to be a safe haven for people, not a rape house.
“It’s really unacceptable that we have people who do this, even worse in the house of the Lord. We strongly condemn this,” he said.
Mahlobo called for the police to deal with the suspect.
He said that such criminality was becoming the norm, which showed that churches needed to adopt policies that dealt with sexual assault cases and gender-based violence.
“It needs to be known that churches don’t endorse such behaviour and we take it seriously when reported,” he said.
Leaj Mashiya, chairwoman of Boitumelo Children’s Organisation, said the news broke her heart.
She said churches have become hideouts for people to do evil things like rape.
“More attention needs to be given to churches, because children continue to be violated there,” she said.
Mashiya also called on the police to treat the matter with a sense of urgency, and for the justice system to make an example of the suspect.
“People need to know there will be a price to pay if you don’t respect the law. Our kids need to know they can rely on the law to protect them.”
In a similar incident, Mzansi was recently shocked to learn about the rape of a grade 1 pupil at Khensani Primary School in Soshanguve, Tshwane
She was allegedly raped by a general worker in the bathroom.