Bo-Kaap brothers accused of sex abuse

Bo-Kaap residents showing support to the woman who claims to have been sexually assaulted by a family member and prominent community member.

The Muslim Judicial Council has suspended the Bo-Kaap man who has been accused of sexually abusing a woman who says she is his granddaughter.

This comes after a 15-minute video on YouTube was circulated on social media. In it the young woman claims that her paternal grandfather had molested her since the age of 5. She alleges that the man and his twin brother, who are now 85, have abused girls in Bo-Kaap for decades. “There are women in their 50s, 40s, 30s and teenage girls who have been abused,” the young woman said.

“I was 5 when the abuse started and at the time, I felt that I was the only one being abused and someone close to my age told me she was being abused by (the brother of my paternal grandfather),” she said. She said both men have never been held to account.

In the video, the young woman described how she would be pinned to the bed and her grandfather would hold her wrists above her head, his knees pushing into her thighs so she couldn’t move.

“He would say things like ‘let’s kiss like they do in the movies’, he locked me in the garage, I’ve woken up without underwear,” she said.

The video, which has been viewed more than 100 000 times on YouTube caused huge upset in the community and last Thursday residents staged a protest against the twin brothers. EFF members joined on Saturday as residents marched through the Bo-Kaap and to the home of one of the accused. Four more women have since come out and claim that the men had sexually abused them. Both brothers have served as principals of two Cape Flats high schools.

In a statement, the MJC said they “noted with great concern the social media clip in which serious allegations of sexual molestation and paedophilia are levelled against the two prominent Cape Town men”.

“One of those against whom these allegations have been levelled, serves on the Education Board of the MJC and has subsequently been suspended with immediate effect until further notice,” they said. “Crimes of this nature are abominable, and the processes of the law must be fully instituted. Our sympathy goes out to all who are suffering from any form of violation. The MJC encourages those who have fallen victim to crimes of this nature to break their silence and to seek legal recourse.”

The Bo-Kaap Civic and Ratepayers’ Association pledged their support for the woman.

“We’ll be removing the alleged perpetrators from all positions that they are currently serving on and ask the community to allow the law to take its course,” they said. “Our hearts are heavy but the scourge of violence in any form against the most vulnerable in our community must stop. We request the community to understand this and we must avoid secondary trauma of victimisation of the victim and those who still want to come forward.”

The civic association added that they had noted the trend of political parties “hijacking” issues associated with the brothers. “We urge them to stop immediately. It is nothing more than opportunism and undermines the very real issue of gender-based violence against the most vulnerable in our communities,” they said.

They added that women’s bodies and pain must not be used as political tools. “Victims must be urged to come forward in a safe environment and the politicking can be a trigger. We must avoid secondary forms of continued trauma.”

In a letter sent to the media, Sebogodi Attorneys who represent one of the accused, said their client had never been confronted with any allegation of this nature by a family member or any other person at any point before the allegation that emerged on October 20.

“My client denies having been party to any unlawful conduct of any nature whatsoever.”