Outrage as body of girl, 3, found

Violence against women and children continues unabated with reports of horrific incidents in the province at the weekend.

In the first incident, the body of a three-year-old toddler was found dumped metres from her Second Creek home in Parkside, East London, on Saturday.

In the second, police reported that the body of a 45-year-old woman was found in Lusikisiki following a fight with her boyfriend.

Jade Veldman, who is believed to have been raped before her murder, was found floating in a smelly stream in Second Creek.

Ricardo Veldman, her father said he could not bear to see her lifeless body being retrieved by police on Saturday afternoon.

Clad in white tights, a pink top and black sandals, little Jade had been playing with other children outside her home on Friday afternoon. Around 5pm her family realised she was gone.

After Jade was reported missing, Veldman said a search for his youngest daughter began.

“At the time, her death was not even a thought that crossed my mind. “We split up into teams to look for her. All of Second Creek was crawling with police looking for her. We went door-to-door and we used a loud hailer and microphone around the community looking for her until 3am on Saturday morning,” he said.

When the Daily Dispatch arrived at the Veldman’s family home yesterday, Jade’s mother, Juella, was too distraught to speak.

The couple have two other children aged 20 and nine, respectively. Veldman described his daughter as a happy and lovable child who never spoke to strangers.

“She never spoke to strangers. That leads me to believe 100% that whoever did this to my baby girl is someone we know.

“What scares me the most, is not knowing how to protect my other daughter from whoever this person is, because she is nine years old and it’s likely that she also knows who this person is,” he said.

Veldman said on Friday they had searched an area where she was known to have gone previously, but she was not there.

He believed whoever killed her and dumped her close to their home, was being malicious.

She was found around 10am the following day by a relative.

Veldman said he could not summon the courage to see Jade’s body because he wanted to retain and preserve the memory of a bubbly Jade, not a bruised and lifeless body.

“I do not want to remember my daughter like that. I can still hear her voice. She used to boss me around and tell me this is her house. Seeing her toys and clothes still lying around the house is very hard,” he said.

“When you hear stories like the one of the child in Cape Town who died last week you do not think it will happen to your family and then it does,” he added

Police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala confirmed that a murder case had been opened.

“The child was found naked. Search and rescue, flying squad as well as crime intelligence units were deployed to investigate. We will wait for the forensic report to confirm all the facts that led to her death,” she said. Mqala said while no arrests had yet been made, police were following several leads.

In the other incident, Lusikisiki police spokesman Captain Mduduzi Godlwana said the body of an 45-year-old woman had been found at Gangatha village.

She had been visiting her boyfriend at his home when the boyfriend accused her of mismanaging money. It then escalated into a physical fight which saw the boyfriend allegedly slicing the woman’s body with a panga.

A friend of the boyfriend found the body and reported the matter to the Great Place.

The boyfriend will appear in the Lusikisiki Magistrate’s Court for a formal bail application soon.

Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre director Lesley-Ann Foster said the escalating incidents of violence against women and children around the country was concerning.

“Government needs to focus on prevention and not just victim empowerment programmes. The state, communities and families all need to get involved. This is a heinous crime. Some South African men seem to have masculinity issues.” — siyat@dispatch.co.za

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