RAPE: The accused in the dock with torn black socks and bruises on his body. Picture: Karinda Jagmohan
The 43-year-old man who allegedly held his stepdaughter as a sex slave faced 900 counts of rape, the Verulam Family Court heard on Wednesday.

The alleged rapes started when the child was five years old. The man, who cannot be named to protect the identity of the 10-year-old child, is also being charged with sexual grooming, exposure of a child to pornography and sexual assault.

He appeared for a bail hearing on Wednesday.

The man is alleged to have moved to Verulam - about 30km inland from Durban - from Johannesburg with the child six months ago. The girl’s biological mother and father have died.

The court heard that the case was brought to the police’s attention when the girl was allegedly beaten and chased out of the room she shared with her stepfather.

She approached a neighbour and told of the alleged abuse she had suffered.

Investigating officer Nevarge Lutchminarain told the court that sex toys, which the accused allegedly used on the young girl, were confiscated from his home. Lutchminarain further told magistrate Irfaan Khalil that he believed the accused was a flight risk, and should be denied bail because he had no fixed address or identity documents.

He also believed that incarceration would ensure the safety of the accused, who had been threatened with violence by some community members.

“They have allegedly assaulted him. He has opened a criminal case against the community, so we are also opposing bail for his own safety as well,” said Lutchminarain.

It emerged that the man had previous convictions for assault and malicious damage to property.

One of his former girlfriend’s had been granted a protection order against him.

Appearing for the stepfather, lawyer Mondli Mthethwa said that his client had two previous assault convictions and had “paid fines” in both cases.

In his affidavit, read into the court record by Mthethwa, the man said he believed the case against him had been “fabricated”.

“There is no DNA evidence, there is no interview that has been conducted by the State to establish whether (the stepdaughter) is a credible witness and is able to testify.”

According to Lutchminarain, the child had been medically examined, with results showing signs of vaginal penetration.

The bail hearing will continue on Wednesday.

The girl is at a place of safety.