The South African community have been left in utter shock at the the rape of a seven-year-old girl at a Dros restaurant in Pretoria.
What happened prior to the alleged rape incident?
According to a witness that spoke to the Citizen newspaper reporter said the man was “stalking his prey” while she was playing in the children’s area of Dros Watermeyer restaurant in Silverton.
The witness claimed the man was sitting alone in the smoking section, where he asked for a glass of water, saying he was waiting for a friend.
Shortly afterwards, the man moved nearer to the restaurant’s play area and started watching the girl, who was on her own.
Moments later, the child went to the bathroom and the man followed, the witness said.
“He allegedly snatched her from the female rest room, blocked her mouth and took her to the men’s rest room where he allegedly raped her.”
Mother searches for child in play area
Another eyewitness told local Pretoria newspaper Rekord that the mother enquired about her child after she had left the play area for the toilet.
The mother proceeded to search for her child at the female toilet only to discover that the child wasn’t there.
“She may have heard sounds coming from the male toilet and that’s when she tried to open the door, but it was blocked.”
The mother caused a commotion and the alleged rapist eventually opened the door.
“He was completely naked and so was the child”, the witness said.
The child was found bleeding from the groin area.
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The witness said when customers realized what had happened, they assaulted the man. The restaurant manager had to lock the alleged rapist in the toilet until authorities arrived. The man was taken to hospital by an ambulance after suffering injuries inflicted by angry patrons.
Media cannot name alleged rapist at current
The SouthAfrican.com in a discussion with Mail and Guardian last year, media law specialist Okyerebea Ampofo-Anti revealed that sharing the accused’s name and picture before they’ve made a plea is a huge breach of the rules:
“Once criminal charges have been laid, one has to be careful about the timing around naming the accused. The Criminal Procedure Act makes it illegal to publish any information relating to the charge before the accused has both appeared in court and pleaded to the charge.”
Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Lungelo Dlamini confirmed that a rape charge had been opened and the suspect was in custody.
The alleged rapist was arrested and has appeared in the Pretoria regional court on Tuesday on charges of rape, possession of drugs, intimidation and assault with the intention to do grievous bodily harm.
The case has been remanded to 2 October.
South African government issues statement to public
However, conversation on social media rapidly escalated on Wednesday, after Dros issued an official statement to media, confirming the incident.
“Dros Head Office hereby confirms that an incident (involving a minor child) took place at one of its franchise outlets, namely Dros Watermeyer, situated in Silverton, Pretoria,” the statement began.
Dros said it had “been in contact with the parents of the child to convey our sympathy and offered our assistance.”
The statement concludes with Dros’ tagline: “cause you can’t get too much of a good thing”.
Users on Twitter didn’t take kindly to the restaurant’s “sanitised language”.