“I strongly believe that there is a paedophile ring operating in the North Coast and it’s only a matter of time before this surfaces and more arrests are made.”
These are the words of private security boss from Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA), Prem Balram, who spoke to the Phoenix Tabloid on the shocking rape of a 10-year-old Verulam girl, allegedly at the hands of her stepdad aged 43, and his subsequent arrest and ‘assault’ in a case that has grabbed national attention and is riddled with controversy.
Following the arrest of the accused, a video has since gone viral depicting the handcuffed suspect being assaulted by individuals clad in black.
The accused appeared in court on Thursday in Verulam and told the presiding Magistrate that he needed medical assistance. He claimed that he was assaulted by members of Reaction Unit South Africa during his arrests. The accused‚ who cannot be named in order to protect the identity of the child‚ faces charges of rape‚ sexual assault‚ sexual grooming of a child and exposing a child to pornography. The defense for the accused has intimated to the Magistrate that his client has preferred charges of assault and attempted murder to be instituted against RUSA members whom he claims he can identify.
He has been remanded to Westville Prison where he is to be medically treated until his court appearance on 25 June 2018.
Meanwhile, Balram, who has viewed the footage of the ‘assault’ has launched an internal probe in to the claims of the accused.
“A forensic expert will determine the authenticity of the video as I do not know the source of the audio visual material that has surfaced. I can confirm that the suspect wanted for the rape of the 10-year old child has been arrested twice by members of Reaction Unit South Africa and handed over to the South African Police. RUSA will fully co-operate with any investigation into this matter.
No faces are visible on the video, hence, I cannot identify anyone. If any one of our members can be identified, management will take the necessary disciplinary measures against them. I will request that the authenticity of this footage be verified without delay so that I can act accordingly,” said Balram.
The incident of the alleged rape of the 10-year-old girl came to light when the child apparently shared the horror and brutality of her abuse with a neighbour. Since the startling revelation, the case has snowballed and has led to a series of scandalous events where an incensed mob attacked the accused and searched his dwelling, uncovering sex paraphernalia including, lingerie, pornographic visual aids and sex toys. This allegation corroborates Balram’s claim of a paedophile ring in operation in the area.
The accused who was arrested on Monday by the RUSA team, was handed over to police who failed to register a formal case against him. He was taken to a Verulam hospital for his assault but escaped and fled for his life as he was not under police guard. He was re-arrested by the RUSA team who sprang in to action after the accused was spotted in Phoenix. The police officer who failed in his duties faces disciplinary actions.
The dark and sordid tale of the child’s rape spans approximately five years and involved her being repeatedly molested and sexually assaulted, allegedly by her step dad whom she apparently claimed exposed her to pornographic material as well as prostituted her to other men. According to Balram, it is alleged that the child was locked up in a room in Neptune Drive – Verulam after the man moved from Gauteng. It is further alleged that she was not allowed to attend school and had limited contact with people. Balram said according to relatives the man kept his stepdaughter with him after his wife died several years ago and refused the family access.
The public is divided in view of the assault video and took to social media to air their opinions. A majority of Facebookers, however, condoned the assault in light of the atrocious reported deed. Facebookers said, “They didnt take it far enough. Whys he still breathing (sic).” Another commented, “What this savage did to this poor little girl for so long they should have done a better job on this disgusting filthy maggot (sic), whilst others commented, “Nothing wrong with the treatment he deserves actually to be hanged in public…He deserve death so please give security credits!! Job well done!”(sic).
Investigations are continuing.