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ack your back­pack. Let’s get out of here.”

With these words, an eight-year-old boy res­cued his five-year-old sis­ter from the home where their drug-ad­dicted par­ents al­legedly hor­ri­bly abused them.

The boy made his sis­ter pack a few clothes in her small back­pack be­fore he took the house keys and R200 from his drugged fa­ther’s wal­let. The chil­dren then locked the se­cu­rity gate of the house be­hind them and ran hand in hand down the street.

That was how mem­bers of Doorn­poort’s com­mu­nity polic­ing fo­rum in Pre­to­ria found them a year ago.

Po­lice found the drugged par­ents in the house. They were charged with drug of­fences, pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy and child abuse, and the chil­dren were placed in foster care.

It later emerged that both par­ents al­legedly took pho­to­graphs while sex­ual acts were com­mit­ted on the lit­tle girl, and her brother had al­legedly been raped with a stick. The chil­dren had also al­legedly been en­cour­aged to com­mit sex­ual acts on each other.

But the chil­dren’s or­deal didn’t end when they es­caped their home.

When the boy was later re­moved from his 50-year-old foster mother’s home for dis­play­ing sex­u­ally de­viant be­hav­iour, he was, she said, left in the care of a rel­a­tive who re­turned him to his par­ents.

He re­mained there for months be­fore even­tu­ally be­ing re­moved again and placed in a chil­dren’s home.

The foster mother now fears that the par­ents will be al­lowed to see their daugh­ter again. They fre­quently ask to see her and are not pro­hib­ited by their bail con­di­tions from mak­ing con­tact with her.

“She is an an­gel and I’m deeply fond of her. I can­not al­low her to be hurt fur­ther,” the foster mother said.

She was in the Pre­to­ria Re­gional Court last week, where the hear­ing of the par­ents, who are 27 and 33, was again post­poned.

The par­ents were neatly dressed and there was no sign of how they had looked while liv­ing in the shock­ing con­di­tions the po­lice found them in last year, ac­cord­ing to the foster mother.

The first thing the girl asked for when she was fi­nally brought to safety was por­ridge, the foster mother said.

“Their power had been cut off for two weeks and there was no food be­sides a piece of dry bread.”

The boy had only been to school eight times dur­ing that term.

The girl told her foster mother that her fa­ther had raped her while wear­ing head­phones af­ter look­ing at porn on his com­puter. The louder she screamed, the louder he al­legedly set his ear­phones.

On one oc­ca­sion, both par­ents took pho­to­graphs while a friend of the mother was com­mit­ting sex­ual acts with the girl. The boy was also al­legedly raped re­peat­edly with a for­eign ob­ject.

The par­ents are pro­vi­sion­ally fac­ing charges of pos­ses­sion of child pornog­ra­phy, child abuse and pos­ses­sion of the drugs dagga and cat.

Fur­ther charges, in­clud­ing the al­leged rape and mo­lesta­tion of their two bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren, are ex­pected to be added to their charges at their next court ap­pear­ance.

The case was post­poned pend­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion. The cou­ple will ap­pear in court again in Au­gust.

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