MEC visits De Waal family
Johannesburg - Gauteng Education MEC Barbara Creecy visited the family of murdered Roodepoort schoolgirl Louise de Waal on Friday to offer sympathy and support.
"Her mother is suffering very deeply," said Creecy in a telephone interview.
She said everyone in the Gauteng education department had been shocked by the murder.
"We went to her family home in Roodepoort to express personal condolences to her mother and to members of her family."
Together with the police, teams of counsellors had been working in the school, and with the family.
"Obviously the children were very traumatised, particularly those who were friends of hers, and of course the young lady who was accompanying her at the time that she was snatched."
De Waal was kidnapped at gunpoint while her and her friend were walking to school on Wednesday morning. Later that day a burnt body, believed to be hers, was found on a farm in Magaliesburg.
Creecy said the children were dealing with fear, grief and shock.
She said she met the deputy principal and the chairperson of the school governing body, and they were seeking to raise money to pay for De Waal's funeral.
"I think that we obviously receive some comfort from the fact that the alleged perpetrator has been arrested."
De Waal's family described her as a kind, gentle and loving girl who was hoping to study tourism.
"She could relate to children and friends as effortlessly as she could to adults. She was an exemplary student... and was recently voted in as a prefect for her final year of schooling," the family said in a statement.
"Our little light was extinguished before she had any chance to shine, by a vile and savage act of violence."
"Weezy", as she was affectionately known, would have turned 17 on Sunday.
A 35-year-old man handed himself in at the Margate police station, in KwaZulu-Natal, on Thursday morning. He apparently admitted to committing the crime.
He was taken to an undisclosed facility in Johannesburg and was due to appear in the Krugersdorp Magistrate's Court on Monday.
The man was allegedly linked to nine cases of rape and one of murder, attributed to a man nicknamed the "Sunday rapist".
In 2007, he received a suspended sentence for sexual assault while he worked as a distribution planner for a transport company in Kempton Park. He was currently involved in a business that installed ceilings and skirting boards on the West Rand in Johannesburg.
"Our family is extremely distraught and we are all pulling together from around the country to try and provide support to each other through this devastating time," the family said.
"The family would like to extend their thanks to everyone around South Africa who have taken the time to show their overwhelming support by posting messages on Facebook, Twitter, BBM and other social media platforms."
The family had decided not to comment further to protect the integrity of the investigation.