Dros rape case: Civil rights groups gather to support alleged child rape victim
2 October 2018
Activists began gathering outside the Pretoria Magistrate's Court in the early hours of Tuesday to demonstrate against the alleged rape on September 22 of a seven-year-old girl in the toilet of a Dros franchise in Silverton, Pretoria.
By the time the 20-year-old accused appeared in court, there were hundreds of demonstrators outside - from #NotInMyNameSA, Bikers Against Child Abuse and various political parties - in support of the alleged victim.
The accused has not pleaded and can consequently not be named.
The spotlight, however, shone outside the court where there was a hive of activity from demonstrators who joined in the fight against the rape of women and children.
NotInMyNameSA secretary general Themba Masango called for "no bail for the rapist" ahead of the court proceeding.
"Rapists must rot in jail, asijiki today - he must not come out of here. We want justice now and harsh sentences for rapists," Masango told demonstrators, to rousing applause.
The bikers, whose main purpose is to support women and children in South Africa, made a dramatic entrance, riding in a revved-up convoy.
"We are not going to tolerate any child abuse in this country. Our message is very clear. We are here for the sake of our kids - we love our kids and we want them to feel free and safe in our country," biker leader Martins Antonio told News24.
Tshwane ANC's Lesego Makhubela, who was present in Tuesday's court proceedings, said he was pleased with the presiding magistrate's "firm" conduct which instilled confidence that justice would be served.
However, he expressed concern over the suspect receiving "preferential treatment".
"We are very disappointed in the preferential treatment that the perpetrator was given," Makhubela told News24.
"I have attended a lot of court proceedings. This man was escorted out before the judge could even stand up. In the next hearing this sort of thing should not happen because you cannot be given preferential treatment because you are a white perpetrator."
The case, which has gained national attention, was postponed to November 1. The accused will remain in police custody.