Police in the KwaZulu-Natal's Nquthu municipality have arrested a pastor charged with the rape of at least 13 children.
Based on a Sowetan Live article, the unnamed pastor allegedly sexually assaulted kids between five and 17 years old. Police said the pastor began molesting the victims in 2021, with the latest instance occurring on Sept. 18 this year.
Details of the Pastor's Alleged Sexual Abuse of Children
The pastor allegedly enticed the kids by first inviting them to watch cartoon shows. Later on, the pastor was said to have shown the children pornographic materials.
The 56-year-old suspect's crime reportedly came to light when one of his male victims mentioned the pastor's sexual advances to his mother. The boy disclosed that the suspect had committed similar sexual abuses on at least two young girls and 11 minor boys.
The young boy's mom first inquired with the other alleged victims to verify her son's story before she decided to tell the local police about the pastor's sexual assault on the children.
Social Worker's Plea for Parents
Nonhlanhla Khoza, a social development worker, issued a plea to parents in light of the pastor's arrest.
"We call on parents and communities to be extra-vigilant and pay more attention to their children. These children constantly visited the reverend after school because they were manipulated," Sowetan Live quoted Khoza saying.
She also condemned what the pastor had done against the children, many of whom trusted him with their parents because of his position in the village.
The social worker also urged communities to rally behind the victims and their parents to beef up their cases and bring abusers to justice. Khoza argued that rape and abuse against children are not welcome in society.
She also noted how a parent's sharp eyes led to the discovery of the sexual abuse against her son, which then led to the discovery of other acts of sexual abuse against other children.
Khoza also appealed to "all men, women, and children" to speak up against abuse. She argued that people could not afford to keep mum while perpetrators such as the arrested pastor inflict suffering on hapless children.
Khoza added that the pastor and abusers like him should get lengthy jail sentences. The social workers also called on law enforcers to "close all loopholes" in sexual abuse cases.
"The man must not get bail as he is a danger to society," Khoza said.
The report noted that the jailed pastor is set to face the court soon.
Meanwhile, the government had sent a team of social workers to Luvisi village, where the sexual assault on the 13 children allegedly occurred. The social workers are reportedly conducting support services to the children victimized by the pastor. Their families are also receiving psychosocial aid from the social workers.
In a separate report, Khoza urged parents to protect their children proactively.
"As parents, we should always be on the front line in protecting our children, and we must listen to them when they engage us. We should be friends with our children, so that they can easily open up when they encounter abuse," the social worker told the IOL website.