President Jacob Zuma at the scene where the body of 3-year-old girl Courtney Pieters was found in a shallow grave after allegedly being killed by a man who is boarding at her parents' house in Elsies River. Zuma promised them a house that will be funded by the Jacob Zuma Foundation. Picture: Phando Jikelo
Johannesburg - The discovery of a child’s body, in an open field in Lenasia, has added to a spate of violent killings and child rapes that have shocked South Africans in recent weeks.

A hunter discovered the body on Friday, believed to be the remains of 9-year-old Keketso Mahlakwana, who went missing on Tuesday.

“The parents of the child have yet to identify the body,” said Gauteng police spokesperson Lieutenant Kay Makhubela.

Keketso was allegedly abducted outside the Flamingo Primary School, by a woman and two men driving a white taxi.

Makhubela has appealed to anyone with information to come forward.

While one family fears their child is dead, another in Joburg lives with the hope their daughter is still alive.

On Friday the search for 13-year-old Kitso Mothibe continued with executive mayor Herman Mashaba and MMC for public safety Michael Sun joining in earlier this week.

Mashaba and Sun led the task team into Cape York, an abandoned building in Jeppe Street where some family members thought she may have been taken.

The force raided two separate dilapidated buildings in the area. Kitso has been missing for three weeks and her family believe she was kidnapped.

The recent killings have caught the attention of President Jacob Zuma, who on Thursday afternoon visited the family and home of 3-year-old Courtney Pieters, who was allegedly raped and murdered by family friend and tenant, earlier this month.

During his visit, Zuma lambasted police on the handling of the Pieters case, saying they could have “found the body, we could have found the blood” had the “police searched the home and taken the case seriously enough”.

He would be speaking to Minister of Police Fikile Mbalula about the increased visibility of police in the area.

Patric Solomons, the director of child protection organisation Molo Songololo, condemned the killings.

“The rape and killing of a child, young woman or any person is an act of cowardliness, of abuse of power and an act of violence and evil,” Solomons said. “Offenders prey on the young and vulnerable."

Courtney was initially believed to have been taken by a stranger.

Earlier this month, the body of four-year-old Iyapha Yamile was found stuffed in a plastic bag just metres away from her Town-Two, Khayelitsha, home in Cape town.

This is also where 19-year-old Sinoxolo Mafevuka’s half-naked body was found stuffed in a broken communal toilet in March last year.

One of Iyapha’s alleged killers is the father of one of her friends.

Ttwo suspects, Thabo Titus and Thabiso Mtshanguta, will appear on May 29 for a formal bail hearing.

In another case, 14-month-old Lindokuhle Kota was buried earlier this week, while her accused father, Ntuthuzelo Mayekiso, pleaded not guilty to her murder in the Khayelitsha Magistrate’s Court.

The toddler was declared dead on arrival when her paternal grandmother took her to the Khayelitsha District Hospital after she had reported that she was not breathing on May 5.

Mayekiso has abandoned his bail application and remains in custody.

Saturday Star