South Africa

News24.com | Daycare owner, four other men arrested in big child porn bust in Gauteng

Five men – including a daycare centre owner – have been arrested for allegedly being in possession of explicit child abuse images and videos, police said on Sunday. 

The men, aged between 30 and 62, were arrested between February 10 and Valentine's Day following the execution of search warrants, police spokesperson Colonel Brenda Muridili said. 

'Operation Moonlight' was conducted by national and Gauteng members of a specialised section within the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, along with United States Department of Homeland Security officers – who assisted with their expertise in crime scene forensic analysis.

Murildili said teams acted on information from the Crime Intelligence Cyber Crime Unit.

"Several personal computers, hard drives, flash drives, tablets and cellphones which contain explicit child abuse material (child pornography) were seized during the operation for further investigation and as exhibits."

Muridili said a 30-year-old living with his parents in Rietfontein was arrested first on February 10, while a 42-year-old married father of three was arrested in Claremont, Pretoria, on the same day. 

A 62-year-old pensioner who owns a daycare centre managed by his wife was arrested a day later and, on Thursday, a 42-year-old living with his parents was arrested in Daspoort, Pretoria.

The last man to be arrested, a 34-year-old from Kempton Park, had a previous conviction for rape and sexual assault – for which he received a five-year suspended sentence that will end on March 15. 

Muridili said another search warrant was executed in Garsfontein, Pretoria, but the suspect was not arrested. 

"The suspect was not arrested as there was no material found on his premises, but his electronic equipment was seized for further investigation."

She said the man had a pending 2012 case of bestiality and possession of child pornography due for judgment on April 20. 

"All the accused that have already appeared in court have been granted bail of R5 000. They cannot be named as the police are still conducting thorough investigations and cannot rule out the possibility that some of the children on the material that has been confiscated might be South African, and therefore their identity has to be protected."

Muridili appealed to parents to exercise strict measures to ensure their children do not fall prey to sexual predators lurking on the net. 

"It is recommended that parents supervise their children's access to the internet and social media."

She pointed out that no children under the age of 13 could use WhatsApp and Facebook in respect of their terms of service.