The Eldorado community were furious on Thursday that their pleas to get rid of the field had fallen on deaf ears. They believe little Aria Talla would be alive if their calls had been heeded.
Aria was found dead in a drain hole in the same open field in Eldorado Park that has been a dumping ground for three other bodies over the last 10 years.
Dalene Raiters, a community member, said the field was dangerous and stressed that if the government did not do anything about it, they would take the matter into their own hands.
Ingrid Fiona Harris, a community leader and a committee member of Ward 18 Eldorado Park, said the community was crying for help.
“These are horrible times in Eldorado Park. Our children are not safe and something needs to be done ASAP.”
Aria’s grieving family said that in October 12 years ago, her cousin Gaironsha Ganchi had suffered the same fate when she was found beaten to a pulp and with broken bones, just a few metres away from where Aria’s body was found.
According to Aria’s mother, Samantha Talla, 24, at about 4.30pm on Wednesday afternoon Aria was spotted by kids in the neighbourhood riding a bicycle with an unknown man.
As soon a they realised she was missing, community members gathered and searched for her. Shaamila Khan, Aria’s grandmother, described her as a cautious and alert child, and stressed that there was no way she would have left with a man she did not know.
“Aria was the type of child who was not easily lured. What hurts even more is the fact that our family has gone through this before, and we are angry because it is an ongoing issue.
“We are angry because we have asked for help. We have told them to close off the veld to avoid such incidents, but nothing has happened,” she said.
When asked if she were given the opportunity to ask the killer one question, what it would be, she simply replied: “Why?”
“Aria was a happy child. She would run and give big hugs. There was never a dull moment around her. She just loved her peanut butter and the colour pink,” said the tearful grandmother.
Aria’s body was found by her uncle, Adriaan Swarts, at about 9pm.
“We walked around the streets and something told me to check in the veld by the hidden drain. The body was obviously hidden strategically in the drain because the other guys I was with could not see her.
“Her tiny body was covered with a mat and I was too shocked and hurt to look at the condition of her body. The only way I was sure that it was her was when I saw her small pink pumps and her little legs,” he said.
Swarts added that when they got there, they spotted a man who was notorious for drugs in the community, and, he said, the man had been intoxicated.
Swarts said he had beaten up the 33-year-old man. He and other community members said the man slept in the veld and had been spotted in close proximity to where Aria’s body was discovered.
Raiters, who is a resident in the area, said she believed that if the police had responded quicker, there was a possibility they could have found the child alive.
“We called the police to help us look for her, but no van came - nothing. We were then told that we needed a case number to be assisted, and the only time they came here was when we had a body.
“We wanted to build houses on this veld because it is not safe,” she said.
The Feld Consulting funeral parlour in Robertsham has promised to pay all the funeral costs.
Police spokesperson Nomvula Mbense said post-mortem results had revealed that the little girl had not been sexually assaulted. She had died from lack of oxygen.