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Mixed reaction to Zuma's visit to Courtney's family

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The arrival of President Jacob Zuma at the home of Courtney Pieters left the community of Salberau Estate with mixed feelings.

Zuma arrived in Pluto Street where the slain 3-year-old was last seen on May 4 before she was reported missing.

Residents crowded the street in hopes of voicing their complaints.

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SOMBRE: President Jacob Zuma at the scene where the body of Courtney Pieters was found in a shallow grave in Bofors Circle. Picture: Phando Jikelo

However, a heavily guarded Zuma came to spend a private moment with the Pieters family to sympathise with them after the body of Courtney was found last Saturday.

While waiting outside the gates of the Pieters's home for the president to make an appearance from behind closed doors, residents shouted they wanted “justice for Courtney” and for the death penalty to be brought back.

One woman who shouted from the back of the large crowd said the issue should “not become political and that real answers should be given to the community who lives with this daily”.

Another retorted: “At least this is making a start.”

After spending a lengthy time inside the house, Zuma spoke to the media and family outside before unveiling a plaque in Courtney's memory.

Speaking about the recent spate of child and women killings in the country, Zuma said: “I hope the country hears that this is a serious matter. Our communities have to work together and establish groups to protect our children.”

Zuma also shared with the family that he would be giving them a house as this was a “highlighted plight”.

It is understood a monetary donation was also given to the family.

At a memorial service held for the toddler in Elsies River Civic Centre last night, residents filled the venue to the brim as Police Minister Fikile Mbalula said: “Courtney, twinkle twinkle little star. May your soul rest in peace.”

Mbalula spoke to an emotional crowd who cheered him on as he exclaimed: “That killer must die in prison! Currently the perpetrator is defended by the law and our little girl is dead. Nothing will bring her back.”

Mbalula pleaded with residents and parents to protect their children.

The Pieters family sat on the stage while messages of sympathy were addressed to them.

The funeral service will be held tomorrow morning.

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