A 31-year-old parolee appeared in the Simon’s Town Magistrates Court on Monday after he allegedly lured four Ocean View children into a wooded area, tied them up, and superglued their lips together.
Rozario Rondganger, who was previously convicted of armed robbery, now faces a charge of common assault and will be detained at Pollsmoor prison due to violation of his parole conditions.
He will be back in court for a bail application on Monday, August 23.
According to Ocean View Community Police Forum (CPF) chairman Mansoer Ismail, the four children were collecting wood with their mothers near the graveyard at around 2pm on Tuesday August 10, when the children ran ahead of their mothers and disappeared into the wooded area.
One of the mothers noticed the children were missing and started calling them. When there was no answer, the mother ran further up the mountain and found the children tied up and crying. The children were not injured and were not sexually assaulted but were very traumatised.
Mr Ismail said residents unhappy with the police’s response had tracked the accused down the next day and “badly assaulted him.”
When police had arrived at the scene, residents had stoned the van, breaking its windows, he said.
The mother of one of the children said the one boy, and three girls were 6 to 10 years old. The woman did not want to be named.
Her daughter’s lips had been superglued together and one of the boys had superglue drops on his face as he had struggled with the man, she said.
The children had been tied together in pairs around the knees by the man’s shoelaces.
The man, she said, had apparently shown the children two R20 notes and a R10 note to lure them away.
He had tied them up and told them to be quiet as he wanted to show them “a magic trick.”
She said the man was gone when they found the children but she and her sister ran up the mountain and found him hiding behind a rock.
“He ran away. I didn’t see his face, but my sister recognised him as someone she had seen at a church function,” the mother said.
She said they had notified the police, but, to date, the police had not been to the scene and she had had to collect evidence herself.
“I found his shirt and a sock with a brick in it. I picked it up with a stick and took it to the police.”
The children were still traumatised and some of them woke at night shaking, she said.
She is not happy with the way the police handled the case. In addition to not visiting the scene of the crime, she said, the police had questioned the children in English despite her telling them they were Afrikaans. The police officer had said he would get an interpreter but had not done so.
Ocean View police spokesman Sergeant Mfundo Nyengane said the police were disappointed with the community for stoning the van.
The suspect had been taken to hospital to have his injuries seen to, he said. Based on interviews with the children and their parents, the police had determined that the children had not been kidnapped and the suspect had been charged with common assault, he said.
Mr Ismail appealed to the community to be patient with the police and not to damage their vehicles. Three of the station’s vans were already in for repairs and now, with another van damaged, the station had only one van to patrol the community.
Ward 61 candidate for the Cape Coloured Congress Aslam Richards said that while he did not condone vandalism he could understand why it happened.
“As a community, we feel hopeless and tired of a justice system that keeps on failing us. There are so many crimes being committed and nobody goes to prison.”
The community was unhappy that Mr Rondganger had not also been charged with kidnapping, child abuse, and attempted rape, he said.
Founder of the Ocean View Care Centre Johann Kikillus said the incident raised many questions about how such cases involving children were dealt with.
“I believe that our system is quite flawed when it comes to abuse against small children, and there needs to be a conversation in the public square about how to improve this so that this past week’s events never happen again.”