By Bongiwe Dlamini | 2019-09-11
A 45-year-old man was sentenced to eight years imprisonment without an option of a fine after physically and sexually abusing his 16-year-old daughter.
*Sabelo of Ntondozi under Chief Masuku II appeared before Senior Magistrate Sindisiwe Zwane yesterday on charges of contravening the Children’s Protection and Welfare Act of 2012, in that in November 2018, he wrongfully and intentionally assaulted *Dudu with fists, kicks and sticks several times all over her body with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Actually, Sabelo; an ex-convict faced three counts of same for also assaulting his two other children aged 11 and 7.
However, after medical reports of same and investigation of the matter of the other two children proved that the two had not been attacked in any way on the last incident, the father was acquitted of the two charges.
Worth noting is that previously, Sabelo had been convicted for the rape of a neighbour.
Information brought before court was to the effect that Sabelo was an abusive father to his children, especially the 16-year-old, in that he would beat them for no reason.
On the sexual abuse part, Dudu told the court that her father would sometimes wake her up in the middle of the night and demand that she undressed so that he could examine her to see whether or not she was still a virgin.
Dudu recalled one instance where her father demanded to examine her at night, but she was saved by her younger sister who is 11 years old, who woke up while she was still trying to remove her pants and underwear.
Then, Sabelo is said to have left her alone and went to bed in his shorts. Dudu is said to have been subjected to such abuse by their monster father whilst their mother was away at work in Malkerns. The children are said to have shared the same one-room house with their parent.
The abusive environment that Dudu was subjected to for the better part of her teenage life is said to have resulted in her running away from home. The girl is said to have resorted to running away from home to stay with relatives at Boyane.
This reportedly affected her academic life in that her performance dropped since she had to travel from Boyane to her school near her home every day.
Evidence brought before court by an investigating officer was that Sabelo was a regular customer at the police station since at some point, the mother of his children had reported that he was assaulting the children for no reason.
When abusing them, Sabelo is said to have demanded that they vomit the food that they ate, which he had bought.
Evidently, the children are said to have been found with bruises and cuts on their bodies since he was using fists, kicks and sticks to assault them. One of the children is said to have been bleeding through her nose as a result of the assault. From November 2018 till January 2019, the investigating officer said there had been reported cases of Sabelo abusing not only his children, but their mother too.
This evidence collaborated with one that was provided by a social welfare officer who said she had time to engage the children and the whole family on the abuse. In all that was said, Sabelo is said to have not denied anything.
However, when asked in court why he physically abused his children, Sabelo denied ever laying his hands on the children. He said he only threatened to beat them and their mother but he would not do it because they would run away from home.
“Their mother would return but Dudu would sometimes go for some days without returning home,” he said.
He added that the offences levelled against him were not true, and that his only crime was to discipline Dudu for supposedly returning home late from school.
He said in his view, the child wanted to do as she pleased. He also cited that the children disrespected him so much that they would sometimes buy what they liked when he had sent them to the shop.
“I love the children’s mother and we have no problems but this child is the only thing that comes between us,” he told the court.
After the social worker delivered her evidence before court, Sabelo asked her if the child would never ever need his assistance because bringing him to court meant war. In her response, the social worker said Sabelo was expected to play his role of being a father in the children’s lives regardless of whether or not he was taken to court for wrongdoing against the same children.
“Parenthood is a lifetime responsibility and you will be expected to still be a father anytime that the children need your help, support and protection,” the social worker said.
Before issuing judgment, Magistrate Zwane said she frowned against the abuse of girl children by their biological fathers because they were the ones who had to protect them.
She said the abuse against women and children was a prevalent crime in Eswatini and that it was a serious offence.
For this, she sentenced Sabelo to eight years imprisonment without an option of a fine.
* Not their real names
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