Every child is a national asset. Those words were on a poster of the Department of Social Development in Limpopo on Sunday next to the wooden coffin of Boitumelo Matsekoleng (6) who died last week after being raped.
Boitumelo, a gr. R pupil at Baithudi Mohlahledi Primary School in Marishane in the Steelpoort district of Limpopo, would have celebrated her seventh birthday on Tuesday.
She was raped by a 35-year-old man in the Groblersdal area two weeks ago. Her injuries were so severe that she had to be transferred to Polokwane Provincial Hospital. She was in the emergency room where she died last week.
Nkakareng Rakgoale, MEC for social development in Limpopo, says the ongoing incidents where children and women are raped, assaulted and murdered are “robbing South Africa of a future”.
Rakgoale and Dickson Masemola, MEC for safety, attended Boitumelo’s funeral on Sunday. There were also pupils from her school at the funeral. Boitumelo Matsekoleng, 6, who died after she was raped, was buried on Sunday outside Groblersdal in Limpopo.
A man appeared for the second time in the Nebo Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for the rape. The 35-year-old man has also been charged with murder. The man’s identity may not be revealed until he pleaded guilty to rape.
He remains in custody and will appear in the same court later this month. Masemola says if the man is convicted, he should receive the severest possible punishment. Meanwhile, a 14-year-old girl from Tzaneen was allegedly raped by a spaza shop owner on Thursday. Brig. Motlafela Mojapelo, provincial police spokesperson in Limpopo, said the girl apparently went to the spaza shop before school to buy something to eat. The owner allegedly raped her and then gave R20 to say nothing about it.
However, the girl’s mother suspected wrongdoing and called the police. Residents of Maake, outside Tzaneen, are outraged by what happened and have looted several shops. Several shops, especially foreigners, went through. Mojapelo said members of the public order police unit had to be deployed.
The owner of the spaza shop has been arrested and will appear in Lenyenye Magistrate’s Court outside Tzaneen on Monday on a charge of rape. The rape and murder of Boitumelo and the rape of the 14-year-old girl comes a month after the murder of Thandi Mampane (11) of Groblersdal.