Johannesburg - The grandfather of murdered 4-year-old Jasmin Lee Pretorius admitted he had murderous feelings towards the man accused of killing her.
Colin Bam said this at a prayer service at Siloam Ministries in Dalpark on Friday morning, where hundreds of bikers walked out in protest at what they said had turned into a political event.
“As a father I’d love to kill him, as a grandfather I’d love to annihilate him,” Bam said, but added that he knew these feelings went against his religion.
Bam said despite his anger, he had found it in his heart to forgive Jasmin’s killer.
Shortly after the service began, the bikers walked out.
“It’s unbelievable that we come here with pain in our hearts… and then they come here and introduce their captains and their comrades,” said Johan Herbst from the Boerseuns bike club, speaking outside the church after a police officer opened the service by welcoming national police commissioner General Riah Phiyega.
As they left the packed church hall, one of the bikers shouted: “Bring back the death penalty.”
“Everybody stood up like one man,” said Herbst’s brother, Hannes, who was one of the first bikers to leave the service.
Many of the bikers revved their engines as they left the premises.
Inside, Bam called on people to remember what the service was for: “We came here for Jasmin.”
Before the service started, the roads around Siloam Ministries were temporarily shut to traffic to allow the large contingent of bikers to ride to the meeting as a group.
The prayer meeting was organised by the SAPS, who also showed up in their numbers along with officers from the Ekurhuleni Metro Police Department. Phiyega and acting Gauteng commissioner Lieutenant-General Lesetja Mothiba attended the service.
“If for nothing else, we’re here for support,” said Nadia Figueiredo from the East Rand Prowlers bike club before the service began. She said the biking community had been shocked by Jasmin’s “horrific” murder.
Her fellow club member, who only gave her nickname of “White Raven”, said she knew the biking community would show up in numbers.
“People need to start standing up against this kind of crime and in the biking community we stand together,” she said.
Jasmin was raped and killed earlier this week, allegedly by her uncle, who initially claimed she was missing before confessing to having stuffed her body under the bed.
At a court appearance on Monday, people tried to attack Jasmin’s family, blaming them for the little girl’s death.
The police are hoping the prayer service gave the community an emotional outlet and helped cool tempers.
Outside the flat where Jasmin died, people have laid flowers and toys. There are posters calling for the death penalty and a noose has been placed around a photograph of her uncle, with the words “rapist and murderer” next to it.
Earlier this week, Pretorius told Eyewitness News that Jasmin had adored her uncle.