Expatica news

S.African man charged with abusing captive family for years

A South African man accused of abusing his five children while keeping them captive for more than a decade appeared briefly in a court east of Johannesburg Wednesday.

The 36-year-old allegedly tortured his children, aged between two and 16, with electric cables and burnt them with a blow torch, police investigator Rudi Jansen told AFP.

The man’s wife told police her husband also regularly stripped her naked, then handcuffed and assaulted her.

Police said a doctor’s report showed the 16-year-old daughter was sexually active, but had never left the house.

Police are probing allegations that the man, described as a successful Afrikaans businessman, kept his family captive for as many as 16 years, Jansen said.

The court ordered the man not be named to protect the children

Outside the court a small number of protesters said the man should be refused bail.

“He must go to jail! You pig!” read the words in Afrikaans on one poster.

“They must bring him to us. We’ll know what to do with him,” a woman told journalists.

Neighbours in the mining town of Springs, east of Johannesburg, told Beeld newspaper they never knew the well-dressed husband and wife had children.

The neighbours called the police after the man’s 11-year-old son escaped last week.

The accused took his son back from the neighbours, held his head under water in his swimming pool, beat him and then hid the wounded boy in the ceiling when police arrived, said Jansen.

Police took four children from the house, but the accused said the 11-year old had run away. He then secretly took the boy to relatives in a neighbouring province.

After a few days the wife broke down and told authorities where the child was, and about years of abuse at her husband’s hands.

The children were being kept in a safe place, separate from their mother, said Jansen.

Police were still investigating charges against her, he added.

The court roll showed charges of assault and child abuse against the man, but Jansen said charges of attempted murder and defeating the ends of justice would follow.

The man was remanded in custody until June 4 for further investigation.