JOHANNESBURG - An Alexandra construction worker became a hero when he stopped a teenage boy from raping a nine-year-old girl.
The girl and her friends had been playing at Jukskei Park when the 16-year-old perpetrator abducted her.
Thabo Maeteletja caught the boy who tried to assault the little girl.
"I was raised to always view an adult as my mother or father, people my age as my sister or brother and children as my own. So, when I was running after this person that's what was running through my mind," Maeteletja said.
"How can this person rape or attempt to rape? A small child added to that? I took as though he is attacking my own child. Because this child is young enough to call me her father."
Maeteletja was helped by other teens to apprehend the perpetrator, who had managed to run and hide inside a classroom at a nearby school.
The teenager was attacked by community members before being rescued by police.
The little girl's aunt says her niece is traumatised and says she will never play outside again.
"He carried my niece and covered her mouth. She says she tried to fight him but he was too strong. Then he took her down the Jukskei River. His pants were already off when they found him, but luckily he didn't rape her".
The teenage boy is under police guard in hospital.
Gauteng police spokesperson Mathapelo Peters said the attack on the suspect was reported to police.
"Had they called police immediately we could have also prevented. Luckily nothing happened to the little girl although she was injured while running away from the suspect," Peters said.