Dozens of people, most of them wearing pink T-shirts, gathered outside the Brakpan Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday ahead of the appearance of a man accused of raping and killing his four-year-old niece.
Jasmin Lee Pretorius was wearing a pink shirt on the day she was killed. Wynard Kruger (11) was among a few children who had come to support the girl’s family. He carried a board with the words in Afrikaans: “Bring back the death penalty. We seek justice for the kids, bring him out.”
Scores of police officers, some on horseback, were outside the court. Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana would attend the man’s bail hearing, where she would express concern about several recent crimes against children across the country, her department said in a statement.
The 23-year-old man was arrested after Pretorius was reported missing on Saturday December 28. He appeared in the Brakpan Magistrate’s Court last Monday, and the case was postponed.
“A missing person’s report was issued on Saturday morning and the police and the community started looking [for the girl]. We had to do our own investigation,” police spokesman Captain Tsekiso Mofokeng said at the time.
No confident story
Police then interviewed the family. “We identified that one of the family members did not give a confident story … he gave many versions.”
Mofokeng said the man was charged with kidnapping. Later “he gave in and confessed” and helped police find the girl’s body underneath a bed in her father’s flat, on Voortrekker Street.
A post mortem was being conducted to determine what caused the death and whether there was sexual assault.
Meanwhile, Eyewitness News reported last week Friday that the man was moved to a place of safety after death threats were made against him.
The girl’s family said they received requests from prisoners asking if they could “take care” of the man, the radio news station reported. The grandfather of the girl said he was not ready to speak to or forgive the man, but could not allow the man to be killed. “They have a way of getting messages out and are sending messages asking if we want them to take him out,” the grandfather said.
Eyewitness News also reported at the time that hundreds of people gathered at a Brakpan church for a memorial service for the girl.
Many bikers dressed in pink, ANC Women’s League members, and police, including national commissioner Riah Phiyega, attended the memorial service.
Police on Friday directed queries related to the man being moved to the correctional services department. – Sapa