Man nabbed for rape, murder of Khayelitsha girl, 5, is known to family

2018-07-25 16:22
Murdered Uyathandwa Stuurman. (Supplied)

Murdered Uyathandwa Stuurman. (Supplied)

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The last time Daniel Mvula saw his five-year-old niece, she had been clutching a vetkoek and cooldrink, eager to play in the street with her friends.

Hours later, Uyathandwa Stuurman was dead.

Mvula rubs his eyes and shakes his head in disbelief, two days after the "princess of the house" was knifed to death.

"She was probably calling our names while she was being stabbed and raped," Mvula said. "We let her down. We weren't there to help her."

On Wednesday morning, two little boys played soccer in the street near the Mvula home.

Just two days before, Uyathandwa had been among the laughing children in Lambatha Close, Khayelitsha.

According to police, the little girl left for home at about 18:00 on Monday but never made it there.

Mvula said Uyathandwa's home was only a street away.

"She walked home on her own often. Everyone knew her and there was nothing strange about it."

When Uyathandwa didn't arrive, locals started searching for her.

Her clothes were found at about 19:30 the same day. Shortly thereafter, her body was discovered on a nearby field.

She had been repeatedly stabbed in the chest and under her arm.

"I didn't want to go there and see. My brother had gone as well as my father. They couldn't talk about it. They were crying too hard."

One of the people on the scene had recognised a T-shirt lying near Uyathandwa's body and went to its owner's house.

The owner of the T-shirt was assaulted until police used teargas to disperse the crowd, Mvula said, as locals had wanted to petrol bomb the suspect's home.

The 33-year-old man was arrested for her rape and murder and he is known to the family. He used to play for the same soccer team as one of the brothers.

Mvula said he never thought his "cheeky" niece would die in such a violent way.

"She was just a small child."

Uyathandwa was a playful girl who didn't like to be told what to do, Mvula recalled fondly.

"She loved taking photos, dancing and singing. She was good."

The pre-Grade R pupil especially loved playing in her grandfather's broken-down red Ford Laser.

"She liked to sit in the seat and turn the wheel. She was so excited to one day learn to drive," Mvula said with a sad smile.

"Our house has become very quiet. Every morning her dad would come and drop her here before school and she would wake us all up. She called me 'tatomncinci' (uncle) and I would tell her not to because I am too young. She still did."

Mvula said his brother and Uyathandwa's mother were devastated as they made the funeral arrangements for their only child. She is expected to be buried on Sunday.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Noloyiso Rwexana said the man would appear in the Khayelitsha Magistrates' Court on Thursday.

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