A senior local government official and his wife are scheduled to appear before the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court on Monday for alleged rape involving two minors aged between 13 and 15 years old.

It is alleged that the 49-year-old municipal director’s wife, 36, forced the teenagers to have sex with her husband in exchange for meals.

Police in Mpumalanga say they were alerted to the alleged crime by a concerned citizen. The children had shared their ordeal with the informant after escaping from their alleged abusers.

The couple was arrested on Friday.

“Reports suggest that between 2019 and 2020, the two girls who are cousins, were reportedly lured from Mozambique by their aunt under false pretense that they were going to receive a better education in South Africa. When they arrived in the country, they were allegedly subjected into rape, as well as gross human violations. According to allegations, the girls were literally kept as slaves by their own aunt and uncle in a house at Shatale near Bushbuckridge, which was supposed to be a warm home for them,” says Mpumalanga Police Spokesperson, Colonel Donald Mdhluli.

The girls allege that the aunt would often change them, each at a time, to sleep with her husband and excuse herself from the bedroom. They also alleged that other members of the family back in Mozambique, were not aware of their ordeal. Their aunt is said to have ensured that each call made between the victims and their family at home in Mozambique, was personally monitored by her as she sat closely to hear all the conversations.

“Preliminary investigation has revealed that the girls were illegally brought into the country without proper documentations hence an additional charge of contravention of the Immigration Act was added. The suspects are also facing a charge of human trafficking as well as conspiracy to commit crime,” says Mdhluli.

The teenagers are currently being kept in a place of safety.

The Acting Provincial Commissioner of the South African Police Service in Mpumalanga, Major General Thulani Phahla, has voiced concern over the alleged incident.

“This alleged incident shows a degree of moral decay in our society. Adults should protect children not abuse them, however, be that as it may, the law will definitely take its course, ” General Phahla says.