1000s march for girls

2017-04-04 15:24
Residents danced and sang in the streets as they marched for Stacha Arend who was found dead in Swartklip Road last week.

Residents danced and sang in the streets as they marched for Stacha Arend who was found dead in Swartklip Road last week. (Samantha Lee)

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Hundreds quickly turned into thousands as angry residents flocked to the streets in a show of disgust at recent murders of children.

This follows the discovery of the body of an 11-year-old girl who had been reported missing only a few hours before.

Stacha Arend’s body was found in the early hours of Tuesday morning after she was reported missing on Monday last week.

She had been raped and killed, her body found in an awkward position in a bush at the foot of the dunes along Swartklip Road.

Police intervened just in time as residents attempted to set the bush alight.

Her murder follows closely on the discovery of the body of 13-year-old Rene Tracy Roman from Lavender Hill on Tuesday 21 March after she went missing on Friday 10 March.

Arrests in both cases have been made and Roman was laid to rest this past Saturday.

These murders have shaken community members, who marched together in their thousands from Paulsberg Road to Town Centre on Thursday last week.

“This is the last time this happens in our community,” says Joanie Fredericks, a community worker.

“For a long time people have been trying to mobilise. Everyone has their own chat groups and messages but this is the first time that so many people stood together and answered one call to stand together.”

Tempers flared as the marchers got close to Orion Church opposite the Town Centre where they were meant to hold a mass prayer for Roman, Arend and other murdered children.

A number of people broke away from the planned route and headed for the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court, demanding that the suspect in Arend’s murder be handed over to them.

“We want justice,” they chanted while some pulled on the court building gates.

Organisers attempted to calm the crowd and managed to move them from the court building.

“Let’s burn the bush to the ground,” some chanted, followed by “Ons maak hom vrek!” and other phrases met with applause or chants.

Later that evening police were called to Tafelsig where a riot had ensued. Police used tear gas and stun granades to disperse the crowd.

The 31-year-old suspect in Arend’s murder appeared in court on Friday and again yesterday.

It is believed the man is a convicted rapist, released on parole six months ago.

Tafelsig Primary School also held a vigil for Arend while messages of support still stream in for her family.

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