Durban - Two Chatsworth schoolboys, aged 8 and 9, were allegedly gang raped on school premises by four of their older peers.
KwaZulu-Natal police spokesperson Colonel Jay Naicker confirmed that charges had been laid at the Chatsworth SAPS.
“The two victims were allegedly gang raped. At this stage, the case is being investigated by the SAPS Chatsworth FCS (Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences) Unit. We cannot furnish further information as the victims and accused are minors,” said Naicker.
The incident is believed to have taken place in one of the school toilets last week.
Following the incident, Department of Education officials visited the school, meeting with the principal and other staff to assess the situation. Parents of the pupils involved were also called in.
Department of Education spokesperson Muzi Mhlambi said that the department was investigating the matter.
“Initial reports from department officials indicate to us that it was not rape but rather sexual experimentation but we will await the outcome of the investigation. Regardless of what it is, we are deeply concerned,” said Mhlambi.
He said that counselling had been arranged for all the pupils.
Parent’s Association KwaZulu-Natal Durban South chairperson Vee Gani said the incident was unacceptable and unfortunate.
“A lot more needs to be done to educate learners at primary school about matters like this so that they are more sexually alert,” said Gani.
President of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Joan Van Niekerk said that there were several factors that could have built up to the incident.
“Twelve-year-olds don’t understand rape and it highlights one of two things. Either they have been victims of abuse or they are being exposed to material or behaviour that they shouldn’t be exposed to. I hope that all children involved are carefully assessed,” she said.
Van Niekerk added that recent studies showed that South Africa had an exceptionally high level of abuse against children.
“The study also tells us that South African children have a low level of empathy. This means that they do not care about what consequences their actions would have on others and that is of enormous concern,” she said.
Attempts were made to contact the school for comment.
Reporters were told that the principal was in meetings or teaching and was not available.
The school also refused to provide contact details for governing body officials.