The Cape was shocked to hear of a 59-year-old man from Heideveld who is in love with a 16-year-old girl. According to reports, the man came under attack on Tuesday, January 14, when residents of the surrounding community pelted his home with stones.
The man maintains that he is not a paedophile, and has intentions to marry the teen girl. Her mother approached social workers as soon as she found out about the relationship, but as the girl is of the legal age to consent to sex, no action can be taken against the 59-year-old. Her mother, however, has confirmed that the teen will be off to a home for troubled youth.
“I asked what is going to happen to him, but the police said they cannot charge him,” she said to the Daily Voice.
“They asked me to stop seeing her and I agreed. I will stop seeing her but that doesn’t change how I feel about her,” the 59-year-old said after the community destroyed one of the windows in his home. “I am forced to stop this relationship. I don’t want to put my life in danger.”
The teen has also admitted that she has had sex with the much older man, and is in love with him. “He helps me, he gives to me and he loves me,” she said.
According to acting station commander of the Manenberg Police Station, Colonel Sanele Zama, there is nothing they can do about the relationship despite the 43 year age gap.
“As she is 16-years-old and is legally allowed to consent, we cannot open criminal charges against him,” Zama said.
This incident has begged the question of what is acceptable when it comes to the age of consent and its parameters.
Here is a breakdown:
In South Africa, the legal age of sexual consent is 16-years-old. However, last year, the legal age of consent for teenagers was changed to 12 years old, but what does this mean?
According to South African law, a 12-year-old is able to consent to having sex with a 14-year-old, but not with anyone who is 16 years old or older. This only applies in relationships between teenagers.
In South Africa, the statutory rape law is violated when an individual older than 16 has sexual relations with an individual under the age of 16 only, while any form of sex with an individual younger than 12-years-old violates the law and falls under rape or sexual assault.
While many have expressed outrage at the above incident, their involvement technically falls within the parameters of a consenting sexual relationship.