Cape Town - Moyhdian Pangkaeker, 56, also referred to as Moehydien Pangaker, on Wednesday appeared in the Western Cape High Court, where he pleaded “not guilty” to all of the 27 charges he is facing, including the murder, rape, and kidnapping of 8-year-old Tazne van Wyk.
Pangkaeker faces further charges of incest, rape, sexual assault, sexual grooming, desecration of a corpse, and assault. He was arrested two days before Tazne’s body was found in a stormwater drain along the N1 in Worcester, almost two weeks after she went missing on February 7, 2020.
Four witnesses, including both of Tazne’s parents, were called to testify, but it was the evidence of sympathetic Allison Karels that intrigued those who were present. Karels had seen Pangkaeker with Tazne on the Friday evening she went missing.
She spotted them on the roadside, while she was sitting in the car with friends, as the two were walking along the N1 en-route to Worcester, so she demanded the driver give them a lift.
She said she did this out of concern for the child, who she noticed wore a pair of shorts. When the two got into the vehicle, she said the little girl spoke to her as if they’d known each other their whole lives.
Karels said they got into the vehicle and drove to a petrol station off the N1, in the direction of De Doorns, video footage of the petrol station was played in court.
She explained in the video that she walked with Tazne towards the trucks parked at the station and asked the drivers if they could give Pangkaeker a lift. When they refused, she returned to the car.
A few minutes later, she discussed the possibility of having Pangkaeker and the little girl sleep over at her place in Worcester, but he vehemently refused.
When advocate Lenro Badenhorst showed her an image of Pangaeker from Tazne Van Wyk’s missing person leaflet, and asked her what makes her so sure that the person she met that night was him she said: “I will never forget that man’s face , because I even made jokes about him that night ... I described him as a nice looking guy.”
Advocate Badenhorst asked her about the man in the dock, but she had difficulty recognising Pangkaeker as she became emotional. She said he didn’t look like himself and had gotten older.
She testified that she recognised his face from Tazne’s missing person’s leaflet on social media and instantly knew that it was both Tazne and Pangkaeker. After consulting with a friend, she contacted the police. She said that Pangkaeker didn’t introduce himself and told them he was en-route to Beaufort West to take the child to her mother.
Pangkaeker’s lawyer advocate Saleem Halday put it to Karels, during cross-examination, that his client admitted that he met her that night but that she was mistaken about the location he mentioned. His version was that he was taking the child to Cape Town, where the child’s mother was, but Karels insisted: “No, he said Beaufort West”.
Tazne’s parents, Carmen van Wyk and Terence Manuel, also took the stand. They said Tazne was an obedient child, who always tried to help those who weren’t cared for.