The girl was allegedly raped by a Pakistani shop owner as she went to purchase something from the shop. Residents gathered shortly after the incident on 19 October and forced spaza shops owned by foreign nationals to close down.
“The girl was allegedly raped at the shop while she was going to buy something. The suspect was arrested and remains in police custody after being denied bail,” said a spokesperson for Rabie Ridge Police Station, Captain Mofana Masela.
Community leader Gabriel Tau said residents held another meeting on 23 October and resorted to having a petition signed to have all foreign-owned spazas shut down in the area.
“When we gathered with community members, about four more parents came out and alleged that their children, aged between nine and 15 years, have also fallen victim to rape by the foreign nationals. We are advising them to report the cases to the police. It is for this reason that we have decided as a community to have their businesses closed down,” said Tau.
“According to parents, the children were given sweets and money by the perpetrators [after the incidents]. As small as our community is, we have about 35 spaza shops. We fear that more children who have not come forward yet might have been abused. We will not allow any more abuse,” he added.
The petition is expected to be delivered to the Department of Home Affairs, the local police and the City of Johannesburg.
Despite the allegations of abuse, Tau said they had conducted visits to the spaza shops and discovered that some products were allegedly expired. “That is another reason we feel the spaza shops should be closed,” he said.
Masela said police were committed to protecting residents and to fight crime. “We are committed to protecting women and children against abuse and crime.
“We also encourage residents not to act against all foreign shop owners because of a crime committed by an individual,” Masela concluded.