CityPress - - News - BI­ENNE HUIS­MAN bi­enne.huis­man@city­press.co.za

olice have ar­rested a 60-year-old man who for the past three years al­legedly raped and sex­u­ally as­saulted at least 10 young girls, and whose par­ents he then paid off with maize and beans.

The man al­legedly preyed on girls aged be­tween nine and 15 in Blikkies­dorp, a shack set­tle­ment in Cape Town, with the help of a 32-year-old mother of four who al­legedly pro­cured the chil­dren for him, promis­ing them gifts of cell­phone air­time and ice cream.

De­tec­tive War­rant Of­fi­cer Mark Hey­wood ar­rested the sus­pect at his of­fices on Tues­day. He lives in the up-mar­ket Cape Town sub­urb Tokai and is mar­ried with two teenage chil­dren.

City Press is aware of the man’s iden­tity but has de­cided not to pub­lish his name or pho­to­graph be­cause it may neg­a­tively af­fect the po­lice’s case against him.

He was for­mally charged with rape and sex­ual as­sault and ap­peared in the Bel­lville Mag­is­trates’ Court on Thurs­day. Po­lice spokesper­son Con­sta­ble Noloy­iso Rwex­ana con­firmed the sus­pect was re­leased on R2 000 bail and or­dered not to travel to Blikkies­dorp.

Sources close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion told City Press his fam­ily be­lieved he had been do­ing “char­ity work” in the im­pov­er­ished neigh­bour­hood.

On Tues­day, one of his al­leged vic­tims – 10-year-old Anna* – was taken to the po­lice sta­tion to iden­tify the man, who she al­leged raped her with his fin­gers last month. Hey­wood, who used to work for the po­lice’s now-dis­banded child pro­tec­tion unit, cracked the case af­ter Anna’s or­deal was brought to his at­ten­tion.

She was al­legedly as­saulted on July 31 and taken for a med­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion at the Karl Bre­mer Hos­pi­tal, where doc­tors con­firmed she had been sex­u­ally as­saulted. Her mum laid a case at the Delft Po­lice Sta­tion.

The 10-year-old child told po­lice how the man had picked her up in his bakkie and put his hands down the front of her pants. She had told him to stop be­cause he was hurt­ing her.

In an in­ter­view with City Press this week, Anna’s 53-year-old mother clutched her hands to her head. Seated on a small wooden bench in­side her tin shack, the woman paused to swal­low a sa­chet of painkillers with wa­ter scooped out of a bucket.

De­spite be­ing sin­gle and job­less with young chil­dren to feed, the thought of her daugh­ter’s body be­ing sex­u­ally vi­o­lated in ex­change for cash had her grief-stricken.

“This thing, it’s eat­ing at my heart,” she said. “That Fri­day evening when my child came home, I could see ev­ery­thing was not right. She had a R20 note and I asked her: ‘Where did you get that?’... She started cry­ing.”

Her mother said Anna was trau­ma­tised and could not be­lieve the man was out on bail. “The doc­tor told me her wounds were very fresh and raw and that it would en­sure that he was locked away for a long time,” she said.

Another girl, aged 12, told City Press how she nar­rowly es­caped the man’s clutches in May. She and three other girls from Blikkies­dorp went for a ride in his bakkie.

“I’ve heard be­fore that he feels up the girls, so I didn’t sit in the front with him be­cause I was scared,” she said. “He bought us ice cream at McDon­ald’s. When we got back to Blikkies­dorp, he parked the car and said we must kiss him. I ran away.

“One girl stayed be­hind and kissed him. But she has started to smoke and also stopped go­ing to school. “Af­ter that time, I de­cided never to get into his car again.” The man, she said, dis­trib­uted gifts among her friends, in­clud­ing takkies, air­time, food and ice cream.

Po­lice have so far re­ceived state­ments from two of his al­leged vic­tims and are look­ing to get a state­ment from another girl.

Com­mu­nity leader Ber­nadet Sa­muels told City Press that res­i­dents sus­pected the man of hav­ing sex­u­ally as­saulted at least 10 young girls “count­less times” over the course of three years. Their par­ents, she claimed, had turned a blind eye in ex­change for bribes.

“The kids had his num­ber. They would call him when they needed things like air­time or what­ever. Then he’d come with the gifts and feel them up in ex­change,” she al­leged.

“He would give the par­ents food parcels – Shoprite bags with maize and beans and so on – pre­sum­ably to turn a blind eye to what he was do­ing with their daugh­ters. Some of the par­ents did not know of this though. For ex­am­ple, Anna’s mother im­me­di­ately went to the po­lice when she found out.”

Blikkies­dorp, a shack set­tle­ment about 30km from the cen­tre of Cape Town, has a pop­u­la­tion of 26 000 res­i­dents. The area, racked by drugs and crime, has an un­em­ploy­ment rate of about 85%.

“The sad­dest part of all is that these kids are des­per­ate for money and food, so it is easy to take ad­van­tage of them,” said Sa­muels.

A source close to the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion said: “Ev­ery­one in Blikkies­dorp talks about him and what he was do­ing to these girls. We hope it will be like Bill Cosby – with more girls com­ing for­ward once the first ones have spo­ken out.”

In­ves­ti­ga­tion in­sid­ers told City Press that the man picked up the girls and took them to the nearby Air­port Shop­ping Cen­tre in Bel­har, or the McDon­alds’ in Kuil­sriver for ice cream.

He stands ac­cused of driv­ing with his vic­tims on his lap, and would al­legedly kiss and pen­e­trate them with his fin­gers. He also al­legedly ma­nip­u­lated them to per­form oral sex on him.

“He comes across as Mr Nice Guy, driv­ing slowly around Blikkies­dorp,” said Sa­muel.

Rwex­ana said the man would ap­pear in court again on Oc­to­ber 7 with the woman ac­cused of lur­ing the girls to him.

A pic­ture on the man’s Face­book pro­file shows him smil­ing while hug­ging two teenagers, with his wife and an el­derly woman seated in front of him. Shortly af­ter City Press called him to en­quire about his ac­tiv­i­ties in Blikkies­dorp, his Face­book pro­file was deleted. He de­nied hav­ing any links to Blikkies­dorp.

*Name has been changed

DIS­BE­LIEF The mother of a 10-year-old vic­tim – who de­liv­ered a po­lice state­ment on Tues­day – speaks of her pain

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