Two cousins, allegedly forced to have sex with their uncle in exchange for meals, have been moved to a place of safety, while a senior local government official and his wife are due to appear in the Bushbuckridge Magistrate’s Court on numerous charges, including human trafficking and rape.

Mpumalanga police spokesperson Colonel Donald Mdhluli said the two girls, aged 13 and 15, were reportedly lured from Mozambique by their aunt between 2019 and 2020, ostensibly to receive a better education in South Africa.

“When they arrived in the country, they were allegedly subjected to 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,” Mdhluli said.

The 49-year-old suspect is a director at a municipality in Gauteng.

“It is alleged that his 36-year-old wife, hereinafter referred to as an aunt to the victims, forced the victims to have sexual intercourse with her husband in exchange for meals. The suspects were eventually exposed by a concerned citizen, which led to the man as well his wife [being] brought to book on Friday.”

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It is alleged that their aunt would alternate between each niece to sleep with her husband.

“She would allegedly often excuse herself from the bedroom, and when the girls refused to obey, they would be severely assaulted and starved,” Mdhluli said.


“When the elder girl narrated the ordeal, she said one night she hid herself inside a wardrobe out of fear, and for those few hours, she was at least safe. However, her freedom was short-lived as in the next morning, she was severely assaulted, and sadly no one came to her rescue.”

Their family in their home country were not aware of their ordeal, the girls said.

“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.”

The two teens managed to escape on Friday when their aunt and uncle were out.

“They then got a chance to sneak out of the house and reported the matter to [a] Good Samaritan who in turn alerted police,” Mdhluli said.

“Preliminary investigation has revealed that the girls were illegally brought into the country without proper documentation, 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 a crime.”

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