IN A ROW: The seven men who were arrested last week after allegedly gang-raping a 17-year-old mentally impaired girl. A video of the attack was circulated on cellphones. Picture: GALLO IMAGES
Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has urged the community of Bramfischerville in Soweto to protect the mother and the family of the Soweto teenager who was gang-raped recently.
"There's concern that some community members are angry with the mother of the child. But we believe she is also a victim," Mthethwa said. "We urge the community not to hurt the family of the victim who was raped.The child who has been hurt belongs to them."
Mthethwa said this during a visit to the family of the 17-year-old mentally disturbed girl who was allegedly gang-raped by a group of five men and two minors and filmed on a cellphone. The mother of the victim was not at home during the visit.
The minister also called on community members to work with police in rooting out crime in the community. Some community members have been accusing the mother of the teenager of neglecting her since she was a smaller child, thereby exposing her to abuse.
"I am a mother of a mentally ill girl. I work at night, but every day I make sure that my child is safe; something that she has failed to do to her own child," said a concerned community member who wanted to remain anonymous.
"The minister must not come and protect her. She should be charged as well. As a parent, you cannot allow a mentally ill child to come home at night."
However, some parents of mentally ill children in the area said it was challenging to keep an eye on their children when they became teenagers.
"My child has been called names by the community because of the things that he does, but it's something that I don't have control over since he is no longer a kid anymore," said Daisy Moerane a mother of a mentally-ill boy.
The first seven suspects appeared briefly in the Roodepoort Magistrate's Court court last week.
The eighth suspect, a 37-year-old man at whose house the victim was found, will appear in court this week.