A 68-year-old black principal of a Johannesburg crèche, pleaded guilty to a charge of compelled rape after telling two young children to have sex and allegedly filmed the act.
The owner of the creche in Alexandra who ordered two toddlers to re-enact a sex scene after they were caught in a toilet and filmed them has been sentenced.
Daphne Sithembe, whose creche has since been closed, was given a five-year suspended sentence for compelled rape and her name will be submitted to the National Register for Sex Offenders, a move that will bar her from working with children in the future.
Sithembe was also told that whenever she seeks employment that involved working with children, she was obliged to disclose her conviction, failing which, her sentence would automatically kick in.
The black principal called the children to her office and, in the presence of other teachers, allegedly asked them to re-enact the sexual intercourse. She allegedly took out her phone and recorded the act.
She allegedly showed the recording to the children’s parents. The girl’s parents complained to the police.
Compelled rape is defined in the Sexual Offences Act as unlawfully and intentionally compelling someone to commit an act of sexual penetration with another person without the consent of either.
The prescribed minimum sentence in a case in which the victim is younger than 16 is life imprisonment. But a court can impose a lighter sentence if there are circumstances compelling enough to justify it.
Thebe Mohatle, spokesman for the Gauteng Department of Social Development, could not yesterday say whether the department had taken disciplinary steps against the principal or whether the crèche was being investigated.
According to sources at the Department they are not investigating the matter.
In another shocking twist, Dumisile Nala, national executive officer of Childline, said the youngsters’ behaviour was ‘nothing unusual’, adding that they were likely acting out something they saw on TV.
In mitigation of sentence, Sithebe’s lawyer said that she had pleaded guilty to the charge in order not to waste the court’s time, and agreed that it was a serious offence that involved young children. The lawyer said she had shown remorse for her actions.
Passing sentence, the court said although she had admitted guilt, the courts were obliged to pass stiff sentences in cases of child abuse.