Justice delayed in three child murder cases

Protesters outside Cape Town High Court. Photo by Bernard Chiguvare

Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney postponed three cases involving the murder of children on Friday to later dates this month. Stacha Arendse, an 11-year-old from Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain was raped and murdered, allegedly by Randy Tango; René Roman a 13-year-old was murdered by 50-year-old Andrew Plaatjies in Lavender Hill; and 6-months-old Zhania Woodword, shot dead in Ocean View, allegedly by six men.

Cape Town High Court, Keerom Street, Cape Town, South Africa

Western Cape High Court Judge Robert Henney postponed three cases involving the murder of children on Friday to later dates this month.

Stacha Arendse, an 11-year-old from Tafelsig, Mitchell’s Plain was raped and murdered, allegedly by Randy Tango; René Roman a 13-year-old was murdered by 50-year-old Andrew Plaatjies in Lavender Hill; and 6-months-old Zhania Woodword, shot dead in Ocean View, allegedly by six men.

All three cases were committed this year and the affected communities are impatient for justice to be served.

The trial of Randy Tango was postponed to 10 November, Andrew Plaatjies to 17 November while a group of six accused of shooting Zhania was postponed to 24 November,

Some are blaming the justice system for the delay in putting an end to the cases.

“The justice system is putting more stress into us. It is now seven months and justice has not been done. This is not acceptable,” said Moegamat Cassiem de Villiers speaking on behalf of the Roman family.

“All we want to hear from the accused is what he was thinking when he murdered René Roman,” he explained.

Asked what the family was expecting as the punishment for the crime, de Villiers said, “We are not expecting nothing less than two life sentences though that will not bring back René.”

Last week, the Lavender Hill community launched the “René Roman Search and Rescue” organisation whose aim is to search for missing children and educate parents and children on safety in the area.

“You see now that we have experienced a lot of rape, murder and other related cases. We cannot sit and watch. We patrol all streets in Lavender Hill [and] if we come across a child unaccompanied, we take her/him back to the parents. We also advise parents not to send children less than six years old to the shops alone,” said de Villiers.

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Cindy Woodword, mother to Zhania, told Elitsha that she wants justice for her child. “I am waiting to hear what the judge says but I expect the perpetrator to be shot like what he did to my child. A prison term is lenient to such people. They enjoy warmth of the prison, good food and warm environment.”

Henry Arends spokesperson of the Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum is sure justice will prevail at the end though it is taking time.

“When Tango committed this crime he was not tired. We as a community will not also get tired till justice has been done.”

He said the community has in mind what they expected the punishment to be but was not prepared to disclose what he thought a just punishment would be.

“It’s no use everytime we say the root cause of such brutal killings in our area is due to unemployment. We as a community have to dig the root of such crimes. More has to be done,” says Arends.

Members of the different communities chanted, ‘We want justice’ as they filed out of the High Court area.

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About Bernard Chiguvare 56 Articles
Originally from Zimbabwe and since 2014 I been contributing to different publications in South Africa. My area of focus as a reporter is on the rights of vulnerable communities and foreign nationals in any country.