Community packs church to mourn Jasmin

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Copy of ST Jasmine funeral 01 Independent Newspapers HEARTBREAK: Jasmins father Morn� Pretorius holds on to his daughter Jessica as he stares at Jasmins coffin during her funeral service at the Lighthouse Church in Brakpan on Wednesday. To his left is Jasmins grandmother while on the right is her mother Sasha Lee. Picture: Antoine de Ras

The little girl moved to the music. But it wasn’t a happy occasion for Jessica Pretorius, the older sister of murdered 4-year-old Jasmin.

The Lighthouse Church in Brakpan was full this morning – the mourners had come to pay their last respects to a girl whose death has galvanised the East Rand.

The service was opened by a group of young girls who performed a dance, choreographed to a child’s song: Jesus is my superhero.

Six-year-old Jessica, who stood in the front row, bounced to the music while her father, Morné Pretorius, stood perfectly still with his arms draped over her shoulders.

Jasmin’s coffin, bedecked with flowers, was just a step away from the funeral programme, which had a picture of a smiling Jasmin on the front, under the words “In loving memory of Jazzie Fizzle”.

Her maternal grandfather, Colin Bam, thanked the SAPS, to applause from the congregation.

There was a large contingency of bikers and Jasmin’s coffin was brought to the church in a hearse-like trailer, towed by a Harley Davidson.

Jasmin was murdered in her father’s home in Brakpan on December 28. Her uncle, her father’s step-brother, allegedly confessed to detectives that he raped and murdered the child, after first joining the community in a day-long search for her.

Officers found her body, where he had allegedly shoved her under her father’s bed in the flat.

Her father had left her in the care of her grandmother and uncle for the evening.

Yesterday, emotions threatened to spill over again at the Brakpan Magistrate’s Court when the alleged murderer made his second court appearance.

The matter was postponed until Monday to allow him to apply for a legal aid lawyer.

Dozens of people protested outside the court. Dressed in pink to honour Jasmin, who wore a pink top on the night she was murdered, some in the crowd called for the head of the accused, who can’t be named until he pleads.

There was a heavy police presence, including a horse-mounted unit, after a police Nyala believed to be transporting the uncle was mobbed by protesters at his first court appearance last week.

The Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana was expected to attend proceedings but missed the suspect’s appearance as she had not expected it to be so brief, said her spokesman Motalatale Modiba.

Xingwana expressed her outrage, calling for the maximum sentence if the man accused of raping and killing his 4-year-old niece was found guilty.

She was concerned that just days into the new year, several acts of violence against women and children had been reported.

In a statement, she noted the case of the 2-year-old girl fighting for her life at Steve Biko Academic Hospital after suffering severe injuries.

Her 20-year-old mother and her 36-year-old boyfriend appeared in the Pretoria North Magistrate’s Court on Monday accused of attempted murder.

A newborn and its mother are in hospital in East London after the woman’s boyfriend allegedly stabbed her in the abdomen while she was pregnant. The baby was delivered and is in a critical but stable condition.

In Limpopo last week, two girls were shot dead, allegedly by their father.

“There is something fundamentally wrong with our foundation as a society when women and children are made to live in terror, even in their own homes,” Xingwana said. – Additional reporting by Sapa

THE STAR



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