Zastron residents this week returned to the Zastron Magistrates Court where a man accused of killing a nine-year-old girl last month was making another appearance.
The residents, who have taken to the streets on several occasions over the matter, expressed shock and dismay at the killing of the girl whose body was discovered near a sewage pipeline in the small farming town.
It is believed that Phumla Buyeye of Zone E, was found dead on March 18, a day after she went missing. It is believed the young girl was also raped.
On March 20, community members staged their first protest lead by the ANC Youth League member and the Ward 5 Councillor Chabedi Phatsoane to raise awareness and fight against women and child abuse.
It is alleged that the young girl was lured into nearby bushes by a man who worked together with her father at the nearby farm outside Zastron.
The man is said to have offered the victim some goodies while playing with her friends on the street. He promised to take her to her father at the farm and that was the last time she was seen alive.
The perpetrator was arrested the same day the body was found after someone in the neighbourhood alerted the police about seeing him with the girl when she was last seen.
The accused took the police to the sewage area where he had dumped the body and admitted that he was responsible for her death.
The victim’s grandmother, Ntikilane Buyeye, said the accused even came back the following day and volunteered to be part of the searching team alongside the father.
“What hurts the most is the fact that he also came back and volunteered to be part of the searching team,” said Ntikilane tears in her eyes.
“I could have never imagined that a person whom we regarded as a family friend could be capable of such an immoral act,” she added.
The residents sang struggle songs and chanted slogans when they gathered outside the magistrate’s court on Wednesday. They held placards denouncing women and child abuse as the suspect made his appearance.
The case was postponed and the suspect is expected back in court on Monday.
Phatsoane urged parents to be vigilant and closely watch their children and know their whereabouts at all times, as he believes this will not only keep them safe but will also give the police an opportunity to act swiftly.
“It’s a shameful and painful tragedy that occurred to the little girl. As a father and leader of the community, I urge parents to guard against wolves covered in sheep skin to abuse our children. The protest was aimed at symbolising unity and raise awareness against women and child abuse. We will continue the fight until justice prevails for Phumla. My condolences to the family of Buyeye. May her soul rest in eternal peace,” said Phatsoane.