Media reports said that the young man arrested for the incident allegedly followed the girl to the bathroom and yanked her into the male section. There is one main door to the toilets for men and women in the restaurant. Once through that door‚ a turn to the left leads to the male toilets and a turn to the right‚ the female toilets.
The main door was kept open on Wednesday.
While music played softly in the restaurant during our visit‚ if a similar scenario had played out on a busy afternoon‚ amongst the chatter of patrons and clinking of plates and glasses‚ it could have been difficult to hear a commotion in the bathrooms.
It was when the mother of the child headed to the play area to enquire about her daughter’s whereabouts that she was told she had gone to the bathroom. It was there that she caught the suspect who was found in the men’s stall with the young girl.
The National Prosecuting Authority said the suspect was charged with rape‚ possession of drugs‚ intimidation and assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm. It was not immediately clear whether he was under the influence at the time of the attack.
Women and Men Against Child Abuse said there were limitations to how much security child-friendly facilities‚ such as restaurants‚ could offer children. “Some parents are under the wrongful assumption that their children are safe in closed‚ seemingly child-friendly places but we hear of incidents happening in school and churches as well‚” said the organisation’s Vincentia Dlamini.