Hundreds of mourners packed the community hall for the little girl's funeral. Photo: ANA/Ayanda Ndamane
Cape Town – The funeral of murdered three-year-old Courtney Pieters was attended by hundreds of mourners in Elsies River in Cape Town on Saturday morning.

Community members turned up in large numbers to show their support to the family at the Adriaanse Community Centre in Elsies River.

After several tributes to the murdered toddler, her cousins sang a song paying tribute to the short life she had lived with them.

Courtney’s mother Juanita Pieters was just as emotional in the hall as she had been when she carried the body of her child into their Pluto Street home for the last time. After arriving in the hall, she remained seated in the same place, staring in disbelief at the coffin of her little girl.

Murdered three-year-old Courtney's mother Juanita Pieters and an unidentified companion at the toddler's funeral in Cape Town. Photo: ANA/Ayanda Ndamane

Earlier, the funeral got underway with a ride past by a local motorcycle club, a brass band, and a cadet regiment.

Family members gathered in the Pluto Street home when Courtney’s body arrived for the funeral procession. The hearse was accompanied by the motorcycle escort and brass band.


Motorcycle riders formed part of the funeral procession for little Courtney Pieters.  PHOTO: Tamaryn Africa/ANA

From there, the funeral procession made its way to the Adriaanse Community Hall where hundreds of people had crammed in for the service.

An Apostolic church official opened by saying: “We all know today is about a little girl that crawled into our hearts in two weeks.”

Hundreds of residents had earlier also taken part in a peace march from the nearby Elsies River High School.

VIDEO: Tamaryn Africa/ANA

The rape and murder of the little girl shocked South Africa, with President Jacob Zuma, Police Minister Fikile Mbalula, and Western Cape community safety MEC Dan Plato all taking turns to visit the family this past week.

Zuma had also visited the site in nearby Epping where Courtney’s body was discovered last Saturday, nine days after she went missing.

Thousands of people turned out for the funeral of three-year-old Courtney Pieters who was murdered recently. PHOTO: Tamaryn Africa/ANA

A 40-year-old man who lived with the Pieters family appeared in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday charged with Courtney’s rape and murder.

In a statement issued by the presidency earlier this week, Zuma expressed shock and repulsion at Courtney’s murder and other similar cases around the country where women and children had been violently attacked.

VIDEO: Tamaryn Africa/ANA

“Our prayers and thoughts are with the families during this difficult period. The incidents have caused untold pain among South Africans and this is the time for us to unite and isolate these cruel perpetrators of this shameful and hateful crime against women and children,” Zuma said at the time.

Courtney was buried at the Modderdam Road cemetery in Belhar.