Elsies Rivier residents gathered to hold a night vigil at the home of Courtney Pieters who disappeared from near her home in Elsie's River a week ago. Her body was found at Epping industrial. Picture: Bheki Radebe
Cape Town - There was an atmosphere of despair, anger and heartache in the Elsies River community as residents and the family of Courtney Pieters laid wreaths at the house and place where her body was found.

While they were busy with the ceremony at the house, the police arrived and declared it “a crime scene” to the annoyance of those gathered.

This immediately raised suspicion among community members that Courtney might have been dead inside the house, but police spokesperson FC van Wyk dismissed this, saying the investigation was ongoing.

Dozens of Elsies River residents and community members from surrounding areas attended the wreath ceremony on Sunday and later went to the crime scene where the body of the three-year-old was found. 

Courtney disappeared from her Elsies River home. The body was found in a shallow grave off Epping’s Bofors Circle.

Chairperson for the Manenberg Safety Forum, Roegshanda Pascoe said the residents were angry because on Wednesday they told police about a stench and flies coming from the house, but nothing was done until Sunday.

“The whole community is enraged because they feel the family could have found closure sooner if they had listened to them. This Mother’s Day is not a happy day for Juanita (the mother) even though people brought her flowers and cards. She is heartbroken."

“Courtney will never get a chance to be a mother and we will never know what she might have been. Mothers out there please learn from Courtney’s death, never trust even the people you live with,” she said.

Candice Van Rheede a member of the Delft Neighbourhood Watch, one of the first on the scene when the body was discovered said: “As we saw her tiny feet, we knew it was her as there was no other child reported missing within the area.”

Imraahn Mukkadam, deputy chairperson of the Elsies River Community Police Forum, said they still have the task of catching the perpetrator and we urge the community to remain vigilant. 

Human Rights Commissioner, Rev Chris Nissen, said the violence against children is an indication of the unravelling of society because of bad leadership at the top.

Cape Argus