A 17-year-old woman and her 32-year-old boyfriend will return to the Protea Magistrate Court on Wednesday for the death of the teenager’s daughter.
Baby Nyiko Mthimunye was raped and allegedly assaulted on 15 November in Diepkloof, Soweto.
Her mother had left the two-year old in the care of her boyfriend for about two hours at the time of the incident.
On her return after 8pm, she told the police that found the child sleeping. They boyfriend was not around; only his father was at the house. She said she also went to sleep, not wanting to disturb the child.
The teenager says she woke up in the middle of the night to check on baby Nyiko, only to notice that she had serious injuries to her face. She took the child to the nearby Baragwanath Hospital for treatment and it was found that she had been raped. The doctor called the police.
Baby Nyiko succumbed to her injuries three days later and was laid to rest on Tuesday.
The mother and the boyfriend are charged with her murder. They first appeared in court last Wednesday and the case was shelved for today.
Police suspect that baby Nyiko may have suffered previous abuse at the hands of her stepfather and the matter was never reported. “This is the basis of the arrest of the teenage mother who in this instance, only reported the incident to the police two days later,” Police Gauteng Spokesperson, Brigadier Mathapelo Peters says.
Welcoming the duo’s arrest, Acting Provincial SAPS Commissioner, Major General Patricia Rampota, urged the investigating team to do a thorough job in order to ensure that justice is served for the two-year old Nyiko.
“The SAPS remains committed to upholding the rights of victims of gender based and domestic violence and femicide, and to prioritise the investigation of all cases where women, children and other vulnerable persons are victims,” she has said.
Deputy President, David Mabuza, wants South Africans to join hands in the fight against gender-based violence and femicide.
Mabuza officially launched the five days of mourning for femicide victims and the remembrance of South Africans who have lost their lives due to COVID-19 at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, Gauteng, today.
“The whole nation must rise, and mobilise every street, every community, every church, and every family to join the fight against the murder, and violation of women and children by men. Many lives of women and children have been lost as a result of Gender-Based Violence and Femicide in our own communities,” he says.
As the country continues to grapple with the scourge – the Deputy President says COVID-19 has also caused unprecedented disruptions and anxieties that are significantly impacting the lives and livehoods of all South Africans.
“While we have made significant strides in containing the COVID-19 pandemic, we are saddened that, as a nation, we have lost many lives as a result of COVID-19. Many families have lost their relatives who have succumbed to COVID-19. We have lost frontline workers who died in the line duty, paying the ultimate sacrifice, while trying to save the lives of others from COVID-19,” he says.
More than 21 000 South Africans have succumbed to the illness, while 772 252 others are infected.
“COVID-19 continues to be part of our lives. We should continue to be vigilant, and ensure that we continue adhere to COVID-19 protocols. The reported rising number of infections remains a major cause for concern for all of us. We should continue to behave responsibly to save lives, and avoid any possible resurgence of COVID-19 infections that may result in further loss of lives.”
Mabuza has called on all South Africans to wear a black armband or any other sign that signifies mourning during the five days.
“During this period, the National Flag will be flown at half-mast throughout the country from 6am to 6pm,” he says.
Yesterday, Minister in the Presidency for Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, launched the Inter-Ministerial Committee on gender-based violence campaign in Pretoria.
Nkoana-Mashabane called on South Africans not to turn a blind eye when it comes to gender-based violence.
Also yesterday, Minister of Police Bheki Cele revealed that 8 000 rape cases were reported to the police in the second quarter of 2020.
Cele said the majority of women were raped in their homes or at the homes of perpetrators.
Wits University student, Wendy Manjeya, has called on the Police Minister to dig deeper in solving the crisis.
VOW FM listener, Palesa Mohlamme, says 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children hasn’t solved the gender issues that are crippling the country.
Women’s financial dependence on men is one of the factors cited as reasons for them to sometimes stay in abusive relationships. In a bid to solve this, government has reiterated its commitment to setting aside 40% of public procurement for women-owned businesses, under the theme women’s economic justice for a nonviolent and nonsexist South Africa.
However, gender activist Lebo Ramafoko doubts this will reach the women who need empowerment. Speaking on VOW FM’s Area Code, Ramafoko said it would be best if the government could also give details on who the benefactors of such deals would be. She’s concerned that the deals could be directed to women who are already empowered – further marginalising the poor.