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Cape Town -
Sithiwe Flephu ran towards a screaming resident near her Delft South home, looked into the hysterical woman’s shack and went numb – her 11-year-old niece lay dead on a bed.
“I was so shocked. So angry,” Flephu told the Cape Times on Sunday, staring ahead as she spoke about the murder.
Her niece, Siphokuhle Flephu, is thought also to have been raped.
The murder on Saturday brings to at least three the number of attacks on children in Delft South in less than a month.
On January 19, a nine-year-old girl was left to die near the R300 after being raped and set alight. A week before, a six-year-old girl was raped in a communal toilet in the area.
Police spokesman Andre Traut said officers were investigating the murder of Siphokuhle and it was possible a rape charge would be added to the case.
He said police responding to a report had found on the scene a 26-year-old man who had been assaulted and injured by residents. The officers followed up allegations made at the scene and found Siphokuhle’s body in a shack.
“The injured person alleged that he had no knowledge of the incident and that he gave the dwelling’s key to another unknown male,” Traut said.
The injured man was detained for questioning.
Siphokuhle’s family were sitting in their home, mourning, on Sunday. The girl’s stepmother, Zameka, was too traumatised to speak to the Cape Times.
Flephu said her daughters had been playing with Siphokuhle near her home on Saturday. Her home is about 500m from Siphokuhle’s.
Flephu said a resident’s boyfriend, who was staying in the woman’s shack, had approached Siphokuhle as she was playing. “He asked that she go buy him cigarettes.”
It was not clear what happened next, but Siphokuhle disappeared and the shack in which the woman’s boyfriend was staying was locked.
Flephu, appearing dazed, tried to recall what followed.
“The owner of the house came home and opened the door… She was screaming. I ran there and I saw (Siphokuhle) on the bed. I walked out crying.”
Residents had then seen a friend of the woman’s boyfriend and assaulted him.
On Sunday, when a Cape Times team visited the shack where Siphokuhle was found dead, police tape was attached to an open gate.
There was an overturned mattress in the shack, and an empty beer bottle and cigarette stubs outside.
Neighbours said they had told the woman who owned the shack she would have to demolish it and rebuild somewhere else. They said the woman had left to find someone to dismantle the shack.
Outside, about four children stood quietly. Neighbours said they had played with Siphokuhle.
Nearby, a precast concrete wall was spattered with blood that residents said was from when the man was assaulted.
Roughly 20m from the shack was further evidence of the assault. A bloodied white shirt lay in the middle of the road next to a box containing chunks of concrete spattered with blood. Broken sticks lay scattered around.
Barely 5m away, children played in the street. Community workers said they were trying to get parents to watch over their children more closely.