THE ANC Women’s League, Men’s Sector, Treatment Action Campaign, Women’s Sector, Sanco and Civil Society Forum members came in big numbers to support the two raped and molested minors.

They were pretesting outside Bushbuckridge Magistrates Court opposing bail against the two suspects.

Cooperative Governance director Selby Mogakane (49) and his wife, Ludres Salmao Ngoveni (36), are back at the Bushbuckridge Magistrates Court today.

They are facing eight charges of rape, assaults with intent to do grievous bodily harm, human trafficking of the girls from Mozambique (aged 13 and 15) as well as illegal immigration and compelled sexual assaults.

On Friday, the couple told the court that they would plead not guilty to all charges.

ANCWL member Ruth Raganya said: “What is happening is worrisome. Gender-based violence and femicide are a serious pandemic in this country. We are fighting against and strongly condemn it. The same woman who is supposed to protect the kids helped her husband rape them. Her husband is a high-profile and well-respected person, but he raped the minors instead of buying punani from magoshas. We are here to oppose bail and want to see justice taking its course.”

Civil Society Forum’s Gay Moreme and Mary Malele said: “The abuse of minors is on the rise in Mzansi. We hope there will be justice for the victims.”

Men’s Sector provincial deputy secretary Kgahlisa Mashego said: “Not in our name as men. Real men don’t rape; they protect. We are totally against his barbaric actions with his wife on defenceless kids.”

Then Sanco regional secretary Tshidiso Makhubedu said: “We are saying no to women and children abuse. The couple must rot in jail.”

Mpumalanga police spokesman Colonel Donald Mdhluli said both accused were arrested at their home in Shatale, Mpumalanga, for raping the girls.

He said their aunt allegedly forced the victims to have sexual intercourse with her husband in exchange for a meal.

“Both were arrested on Friday, 23 April. Reports indicate that the two girls, who are cousins, were lured from Mozambique between 2019 and 2020 by their aunt under the false pretence that they would get a better education. Then they were trafficked to SA only to be subjected to rape as well as gross humane and sexual abuse. The girls were allegedly kept by their aunt and uncle as slaves in their home,” said Mdhluli.

He added that their aunt would often inform the girls, each at a time, that it was her turn to sleep with her husband.

“The aunt would reportedly excuse herself from the bedroom. When the girls failed to obey, they would be severely assaulted and starved for a day. As the oldest recalls her story, one night she hid herself in the wardrobe out of fear, and for those few hours she was at least safe. But the next morning she was severely assaulted,” he said.

“The girls also alleged that other members of the family back in Mozambique were not aware of their ordeal. Their aunt is said to have personally monitored all calls made between the victims and their family by sitting closely to hear the conversations,” he added.

Mdhluli said the girls managed to escape on Friday, 23 April, when their aunt and uncle went away for a while.

“They sneaked out of the house and reported the matter to the cops.”