Cape Town – The father of a 3-year-old girl says he feels let down by the Department of Social Development (DSD) after several pleas to have his daughter removed from her mother’s care proved futile.
The 31-year-old father of two told Weekend Argus he had suspicions that his daughter was being sexually abused by his ex-wife’s new boyfriend, but Social Development didn’t hear his plea for his daughter’s safety.
“In February, I got a call from my ex-wife to say that my daughter was sore and bleeding… She was with her mother that week. When my daughter came to me, we took her to Thuthuzela Care Centre in Heideveld. They confirmed that she had been raped,” said the father.
It is alleged that the 3-year-old’s brother, who is 6, saw what happened to his sister.
Cayla Ann Tomás Murray, spokesperson for MEC Albert Fritz, said the case was reported to their local office in 2016 . The biological father reported that his partner had left their marital home with their children to live with her parents.
“It should be noted that there were no allegations of child abuse at this time. The local DSD office supported the family with the necessary psycho-social support and parenting plan which ensured that each parent cared for the children every alternate week,” said Murray.
Two years later, Murray said, a “22 form” was received by the local office in July. “The form, which requests an investigation into a child’s social circumstances, required an investigation to determine whether a child had been sexually abused.
“Upon investigation, a medical practitioner confirmed that there had not been sexual abuse, but that the child was suffering from an irritation.”
In February this year, the father noticed a new injury and took the child back to the Thuthuzela Care Centre.
“The local office then received another 22 form and … (another) form, which provides medical evidence confirming that there had been sexual abuse.
“Thereafter, both children were placed in the biological father’s care while the investigation continues. The local office met with the father (on Thursday) to discuss the investigation.” The mother told Weekend Argus she was aware of the allegations.
“He (ex-husband) has taken them for numerous examinations, but nothing was ever found. It comes back saying that it’s just flea bites or something. He lies – only, this time he wants to prove his allegations,” she said.
She added that she was frustrated, and wanted her children to be happy. “All these examinations put the children through so much trauma.”
The SAPS confirmed that a case of rape had been opened and was being investigated by the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit. The Western Cape Health Department’s Colleen Smart said it could not comment because the victim was a minor and vulnerable.
“All this time, I was fighting for my children. My son was being hit over the arms with a belt. I saw the marks and nothing was done. My plea to DSD was to protect my children. It took this to happen,” said the father.
The mother maintained that all the allegations were false.