President Jacob Zuma on Thursday visited the family of three-year-old Courtney Pieters who was found murdered and buried in a shallow grave in Elsies River recently.
Zuma and his entourage were greeted by throngs of people outside the Pieters family home in Pluto Road.
Zuma was escorted into the home where he held a private meeting with the family, including Courtney’s mother Jaunita, and family spokesperson Roegshanda Pascoe. The meeting lasted for more than half an hour.
When Zuma emerged, he unveiled a plaque in memory of Courtney, which was fixed against the front wall of Pieters family home.
Addressing media afterwards, Zuma said: “In some cases, by people who are so intimate to us, something has gone wrong. I made a statement this morning and called upon South Africans to unite and fight against this. I think that enough is enough, we cannot allow this to happen.”
Zuma then left the house and drove to nearby Epping, where Courtney’s body was discovered on Saturday, nine days after she had gone missing. A memorial site, with a cross and flowers, has been erected at the spot where her body was found. Zuma spent several minutes pensively at the site.
In a statement issued earlier in the day by the Presidency, Zuma expressed shock and repulsion at the gruesome killing of little Courtney and reiterated that violence against women and children has been declared a priority crime and that government would deploy all its resources to ensure that perpetrators face the full might of the law.
“We wish to convey our heartfelt condolences to the Pieters family and to all other families of the women who have been brutally murdered or attacked in various ways in the past few days in parts of the country.
“Our prayers and thoughts are with the families during this difficult period. The incidents have caused untold pain amongst South Africans and this is the time for us to unite and isolate these cruel perpetrators of this shameful and hateful crime against women and children,” Zuma said in the statement.
A 40-year-old man who lived with the Pieters family appeared in the Goodwood Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, facing charges of rape and murder related to the death of Courtney.
– African News Agency (ANA)