'My grandson was tortured by youngsters'
August 22 2006 at 04:58AM
Two 11-year-old boys have been accused of torturing an 18-month-old toddler in Mabopane, north of Pretoria.
The toddler, Seiso Ratsoana, is recovering in hospital.
His grandmother, Jennifer Ratsoana, said Seiso's assailants had poured boiling water over Seiso's private parts and face, had cut and peeled skin off the back of his head and neck, and had inserted chilli peppers into his rectum.
According to Ratsoana, her grandson was playing with her neighbour's children last Wednesday and she was watching them. Suddenly, she noticed that the children had disappeared. She went to the neighbouring house and found the children playing inside.
'I became more nervous'
"Our neighbour's son, 11, was playing with his younger brother, two, a friend, also aged 11, and my grandson.
"I did not see Seiso, but I heard him inside the house. I asked them to close the gate and not let the little ones go on to the main road.
"Before I knew it, I remembered that it was almost time for his afternoon nap. I knocked for more than an hour and they would not open the door for me. They kept on saying they were locked inside and gave me numerous excuses. I knew something was wrong.
"I realised that the main bedroom curtain had been replaced with a blanket. I became more nervous and called neighbours to come and help me.
"One of the neighbours got a broomstick and opened the bathroom window, and another community member climbed through the window to open the door for me," said Ratsoana. She rushed into the house and searched for her grandson.
'He is just an innocent child and hasn't hurt a soul'
A traumatised Seiso was lying under a pile of blankets in the bedroom, surrounded by an array of knives.
Seiso's mother, Nomsa Ratsoana, 19, said: "I am devastated and heartbroken that children would do this to other children. He is just an innocent child and hasn't hurt a soul."
Police spokesperson Erica Roos said a case of assault had been opened and the boys had been released into the custody of their parents.
Seiso is in a stable condition in hospital. He suffered burns covering 20 percent of his body.
o This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on August 22, 2006