Police to probe 'inefficiency' allegations in Courtney Pieters investigation

2017-05-17 18:19
Mortimer Saunders in court. (Zukile Daniel, News24)

Mortimer Saunders in court. (Zukile Daniel, News24)

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WATCH: Court hears Courtney Pieters was raped twice then murdered

2017-05-17 15:39

Cape Town - The case against the 40-year-old man accused of killing 3-year-old Courtney Pieters in Elsies River has been postponed to May 24.WATCH

Cape Town – Western Cape police will investigate the manner in which the investigation into the murder of three-year-old Courtney Pieters was conducted after allegations of "police inefficiency".

This after the Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum said on Wednesday that police were “arrogant” and had a “nobody tells us” attitude when the community approached them for help in the search for Pieters' body.  

Provincial police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Andrè Traut said police viewed the allegations in a serious light.

“Crimes against women and children are a top priority for the Western Cape police,” he said.

Also read: Courtney Pieters was raped twice before being murdered, court hears

Mortimer Saunders, 40, appeared in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday morning for the rape and murder of Pieters. He is believed to have rented a space in Pieters’ family home in Elsies River.

Outside the court, Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum coordinator Joanie Fredericks told News24 that volunteers had to go to the police station to beg for help with the investigation.

“If they listened to the community and the family, and us, when we asked them to bring in the sniffer dogs to do a proper investigation; to bring in more resources, we would not have [had to] stand in this court today to listen to two counts of rape and one count of murder,” said an angry Fredericks.

‘Similar case’

Fredericks said the organisation was asked to assist in the search of Pieters' body because of their advocacy work in the case of the murdered 11-year-old Stacha Arends in Mitchells Plain.

“This case is very similar, but just worse in terms of the police handling of the case. And for me it really just alludes to pure arrogance and [a] ‘nobody tells us’ attitude,” Fredericks said.

The Daily Voice on Wednesday reported that inside Saunders' fridge, a large amount of blood could be seen which caused a stench in the entire home.

When News24 visited the home on Sunday, 10 days after Pieters was last seen, there was a strong police presence and forensic officials were at work.

Community members said police arrived after a stench was noticed outside one of the rooms, but at the time, police said they were busy with "routine investigations".

The body was found at the Epping Industrial centre where she was buried in a shallow grave next to disused railway tracks.

19 kids killed

Western Cape NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said 19 children had been killed in the Western Cape since January.

Fredericks said as an organisation their message needs to change to include men in spreading awareness to fight violence against women and children.

Asked how women and children can protect themselves, Fredericks said women should be aware of their surroundings.

“The first thing that I tell women and children is that the moment something doesn’t feel right, it is not right and it means that you have to find somebody you can trust to talk to,” she said.


Read more on:    courtney pieters  |  cape town  |  crime

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