A Mozambican man accused of raping a 10-year-old girl has told a Mpumalanga magistrate that her parents “gave” her to him.
“The victim was given to me by her mother and father, to be my second wife,” Kandy Fernando Thamza, 37, told the Nelspruit Regional Court on Thursday, as he pleaded not guilty to raping her.
“It happened when me and my wife visited them in Mozambique in December 2012. I was told I could do anything with her and should take good care of her,” he said.
He was arrested on June 23, 2013, after his sister opened a rape case against him at the Nelspruit police station.
He said the child’s family had them married at a church in Mozambique, in December 2012. He claimed the family told him she was 12. His first wife knew she was his second wife, he said.
“I first had sex with her 25 days after we arrived back from Mozambique. She did not have to have consent as she knew she was given to me by her family. She had no right to consent,” he said.
Prosecutor Magda Marais asked Thamza whether he knew that having sex with a girl younger than 16 was a crime.
“Do you read newspapers, listen to radio, or watch television? You should have heard on the news that having sexual intercourse with a minor is illegal. It is on record that this was not the first time you raped the victim,” said Marais.
‘Did not know’
Thamza replied he did not know having sex with a minor was illegal in South Africa, until his first wife and sister told him shortly before his arrest.
Marais said the girl was a victim of child trafficking.
She asked him why he claimed the girl had planted his semen on her. Thamza said it was because he could not remember having sex with her as he was drunk on the day of the alleged crime, in 2013.
Marais asked the court to find the accused guilty as charged.
Magistrate Vanessa Joubert said it was not part of culture that when a family handed their child to another to be taken care of, she should be sexually violated.
Judgment would be handed down on Thursday.