Soweto - Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has appealed to residents of Braamfischerville, Soweto, to offer their support and protection to the family of the mentally ill Soweto teenager who was gang raped.
The 17-year-old teenager was gang raped by seven males from Soweto. The males, aged between 14 and 20, were arrested last week and appeared in court on Thursday where their case was postponed for further investigation.
Police said the girl was reported missing by her mother weeks ago and was reportedly found on Wednesday at a man's house in Braamfischerville. The man found with the teen was the eighth person arrested in connection with the crime.
Mthethwa visited with the teenager's family on Tuesday to express his support and later walked through the streets of Braamfischerville to listen to the community's concerns.
The minister, together with police management from Kliptown Police Station, stopped by the house of the teenage victim and offered words of encouragement to the teenager's sister who was home at the time.
"We're here today to ask the community to protect this family. We've heard of reports that people are angry with the girl's mother. We condemn that because she is also a victim," he told reporters.
The teenager's mother has also been receiving counselling following the incident, Mthethwa added.
The minister said he was told by community members that a number of mentally ill children lived in the area.
"We are pleading with the community to protect these children. Yes, the parents are responsible for them but they are also the responsibility of this entire area because they belong to society," he said.
Mthethwa was expected to visit other areas of Soweto to hear from residents.
The minister said he would be interacting with citizens from across the country and would be making similar visits to other regions.
This was being done to hear from ordinary South Africans about their concerns and experiences with police.