Outrage over child abuse video
A shocking video showing the brutal assault of a four-year-old Phoenix child has gone viral on social media, sparking outrage.
The child is receiving treatment in hospital.
During the past few years, there have been harrowing incidents of child abuse and murder, which have shocked Durban residents.
In the 2014 murder of Baby X, the two-year-old girl was allegedly abused by her mother and grandmother who are both on trial for her murder, as well as child abuse; assault and sexual assault of the little girl’s two older siblings, who are now nine and 12.
In another child murder case in 2015, the relatives of nine-year-old Shahiel Sewpujun were found guilty of his murder.
In the latest case, it is understood that the mother of the child reported to Phoenix police that the child had been assaulted by her boyfriend, but it was later alleged that she had also abused the girl.
Police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala yesterday said the 25-year-old woman and her 20-year-old boyfriend were arrested on a charge of assault, with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
But this was later changed to attempted murder.
It is alleged that the boyfriend punched the child and threw her against a cabinet.
The couple, who are not being named to protect the child’s identity, have since appeared in the Verulam Magistrate’s Court and were released on bail of R3 000 each.
In the video, the mother can be seen slapping the child after she accidentally urinated on the floor.
She is heard saying: “You don’t understand, you are making me go off my head. I’m having like a nervous breakdown in my life.”
The person filming is sitting on the bed with his legs crossed, which is visible in the video.
He appears to tell the child: “Tell her, ‘I peed on the floor’. Wake up and tell her ‘I peed on the floor’, tell her ‘I just went in the bathroom and peed on the floor’, tell her…”
The child is quiet throughout much of the video, but cries loudly when the mother repeatedly kicks her.
The video had been shared and viewed several times on social media with many voicing their disgust.
Gwala said the mother claimed her boyfriend threatened to kill her if she did not assault the child as well.
“The child was rushed to the local clinic and transferred to a hospital,” Gwala said.
The two accused are due back in court on April 11.
Ncumisa Fandesi, spokesperson for the Department of Social Development, said the matter was being attended to by Phoenix Child Welfare.
Jheneen Lotter of Advocacy Against Child Abuse said while she could not comment on the case, her organisation condemned the violation of children and called for stiffer sentences for child abusers.
“Abusers of minor children are walking freely due to the incompetence and failure of stakeholders in our criminal justice system.
“The latest research shows that only one out of each nine minor victims reports abuse, and only 8% of these cases will result in a conviction.
“These figures do not reflect successful prosecutions, and include cases where the accused pleads guilty to the charges.”
The 2017 South African Child Gauge, published by the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, a school-based study estimated that 35.4% of South Africa’s children experience some form of sexual abuse; 34.8% experience physical violence; 26.1% experience emotional abuse; and 15.1% experience neglect.