Gospel star up for rape of minor - Girl, 15, has his baby
AWARD-WINNING gospel musician, Sechaba Bali, is being probed for statutory rape by the police after he allegedly fathered a child with a 15-year-old Free State girl.
The minor, who cannot be named for legal reasons, fell pregnant when she was only 14 after the muso allegedly plied her with alcohol in January last year, before the alleged rape.
But Sechaba says he didn't know that the girl was under age when he slept with her.
"My family and hers agreed that we pay for damages and that I should support the child. I paid for damages and I'm maintaining the child," he says.
"Honestly, I did not know that she was a minor. She told me that she was 17. I only discovered that she was 15 after she fell pregnant. I'm still waiting for the police to tell us what to do," he says.
He says that he slept with the minor after fighting with his wife.
"I was running away from my problems at home and unfortunately ran into a worse situation," he says.
The shocking news was revealed by a family friend who commiserates with the victim.
The grade 11 girl, who now has a three-month-old baby girl, had to stay out of school last year.
A relative of the minor says the police were slow to act as Sechaba has not been arrested almost a year after the case was opened.
Our deep throat says Sechaba arrived in a sleek white BMW at the victim's home in Rietzpark, Welkom, on January 18.
"He was there to see the girl's elder sister, who was his backing vocalist. He then asked to drive around with her and the girl jumped in because she trusted him," says our mole.
It is alleged that Sechaba bought the girl a six-pack of ciders while he merrily imbibed on beer.
During the joyride, the girl is said to have become intoxicated. She threw up and passed out.
"When they arrived in Dwaarspruit, near Lesotho, Sechaba called a female friend to lend the girl some clothes to change.
"The woman also offered Sechaba and the girl accommodation to sleep over as he said he was too tired to drive back to Welkom. The girl slept in the lounge.
"But Sechaba later came and asked her to come share a bed with him," explains the source.
It is alleged that as the girl staggered out of the lounge, Sechaba bent down on his knees and prayed.
"She told us that the next thing she knew, Sechaba was on top of her. When she asked him what he was doing, he said 'Don't worry, I withdraw'," says the source.
The following day, the source adds, the two drove to a hotel in Welkom and he told her to take a bath.
"He gave her R1000 and told her not to tell anyone."
When asked about the events of that night, Sechaba, who claimed the minor was his girlfriend at the time, told Sunday World he would not give us details of their affair. He said he did not know anything about the allegations of the night in question. He also refused to confirm if he and the girl were still seeing each other.
It is alleged that the girl's siblings suspected foul play when the teenager gained weight and started showing signs of pregnancy.
She was taken to a doctor, who confirmed that she was carrying the muso's precious cargo.
A family meeting was convened and the girl's uncle took her to the police, where a case was opened.
"A police officer interviewed her and took pictures of her. But the case is being investigated by one Captain Modibedi," says the source.
The friend says Sechaba later approached the girl's mother and apologised for what he did.
Free State police spokesperson Briagadier Billy Jones says: "The suspect in question hasn't been arrested because the investigating officer could not get hold of the complainant and her family as they are no longer at the address provided and the contacts submitted when the complaint was lodged are out of reach.
"Which is why the DNA test has not been conducted. We are not going to confirm the name of the suspect for publication in the media at this point in time."
When Sunday World asked Jones to explain why the police could not find the complainant's family - who have been living in the same address for the past five years, and which this paper located easily - he failed to answer. - Additional reporting by Amos Mananyetso
Celeb must face music, probe cops too
ACCORDING to the director of childline Gauteng Lynne Cawood, the law is clear on sexual offences.
" A child under the age on 16 cannot consent to sex. What the police are saying is that they can't arrest anyone for rape unless there's a child born out of that crime. That's nonsense.
"This matter must be reported to IPID (Independent Police Investigative Directorate). Police have clearly failed in their duty here. They are failing to protect a victim of crime.
Celebrities must be mindful that a lot of youngsters look up to them as role models. They must set an example of responsible sexual behaviour. If action is not taken, It will send a message to youngsters that it is legally and morally acceptable to rape and get away with it just because you are a celebrity."