'She is dead, and it is painful' - Tazne van Wyk's distraught grandmother at final farewell


White balloons were released in memory of murdered Tazne van Wyk on Saturday as final respects were paid to the eight-year-old girl who had walked to a tuck shop opposite her Cape Town home and never returned.

"She is dead now, there is nothing we can say," her emotional grandmother Magdalene Khan said at her grave side at the Modderdam Cemetery.

"She is dead, and it is painful."

Three weeks after last being seen alive and well, Tazne was buried following a funeral which had drawn thousands to the Uniting Reformed Church in Elsies River on Saturday.

Her body was found last Wednesday outside Worcester. Her neighbour Moyhdian Pangarker pointed out the location of her body in a stormwater drain. He has since been charged with her murder.

Tazne had been missing for almost two weeks after last being seen walking to the tuck shop across the road from her home in Connaught Estate on February 7.

Pangarker had been a person of interest in her kidnapping. He was arrested in Cradock last Tuesday. Tazne had not been with him.

After making his first appearance in the dock in the Eastern Cape town, he pointed out where her body was when he was transported back to Cape Town.

Tazne's bereft mother, Carmen, leaned on dad Terence's shoulder throughout the funeral proceedings.

'The government must make a plan'

A child of only eight years old was being buried, mourner Basil Arendse said at the cemetery, where Michael Jackson's Heal the World was among the songs played during Tazne's final farewell.

"She lost her life at such a young age. The government must make a plan to stop the things that are going on here."

At her daughter's grave side, Carmen wept as she sat in front of her little girl's white coffin.

Addressing mourners at Tazne's funeral, Police Minister Bheki Cele said the criminal justice system had failed the young murder victim.

On Wednesday, when he visited Tazne's home, her mother told the minister that police officers were too scared to search a property pointed out as a potential hiding place of Pangarker when he was sought for her daughter's kidnapping.

Task team

She told Cele that one of the people searching for Tazne reported a sighting of Pangarker after he was identified as the last person seen with her.

Following unanswered calls, residents had gone to the police station to report that they might know where the suspect was.

According to Carmen, only one police van had been sent to the property where Pangarker and her daughter had last been seen.

Outside the property, officers had refused to enter as they had been pelted with stones.

Cele said the issues raised by the parents would be pursued and a report would be sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa, who had visited the family on Tuesday.

He said a task team, which included the Department of Justice and Correctional Services, would examine all aspects of Tazne's murder, including how Pangarker absconded from parole and why he was released given his long list of convictions.

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