Cape Town -

Ten years after a 16-year-old mentally handicapped schoolgirl was shot dead by hijackers on her way to school, her father is asking if the government or society have learnt anything from her death.

Monique Valentine was shot in the chest and abdomen and flung from the Oasis Training Centre’s school minibus.

She was shot by hijackers because she didn’t get out the bus fast enough. She died in hospital the next day.

The tragedy became a rallying cry for politicians and activists decrying violent crimes against women and children.

But, speaking to the Cape Argus on Tuesday on the 10th anniversary of her death, Monique’s father Joseph Valentine said the government and SA society had forgotten all about it.

“Look at all the children that have been killed in gang violence and senseless shootings [this year]. We have healed from the pain of Monique’s death, we have learned to forgive the perpetrator (acquitted in court due to lack of evidence).

“But that doesn’t mean we don’t feel pain for every parent that loses their child in such a way,” he said.

Valentine was speaking after a memorial ceremony for his daughter, held at Oasis Special Needs School in Belhar, where she was a pupil.

“To see the children dance in memory of Monique… she was always so fond of dancing, I never knew where she got that from - none of the rest of the family can dance. If she had been here, I’m sure she would’ve joined in with or without an invitation.”

Later, Valentine pointed out a quotation from the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which read that governments needed to protect the rights and safety of children.

“What has our government done? Was my daughter’s death in vain?” - Cape Argus

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