#NotInMyNameSA secretary general Themba Masango speaks to journalists. File picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

PRETORIA - Civil rights group #NotInMyName on Tuesday visited the Pretoria family whose six-year-old daughter was strangled allegedly by the 22-year-old mother's 60-year-old boyfriend in Soshanguve, north of the capital city. 

"The mother, the grandmother and the family are really distraught. They could not hold back their tears, knowing what has happened to their child," #NotInMyName secretary general Themba Masango spoke to African News Agency in Soshanguve. 

"We advised them not to listen to any plea bargaining or anything like that. We should demand the highest sentence. The family is heartbroken. They are in pain. The grandmother has expressed gratitude to us and the other organisation that was there."

The vibrant civil rights movement, led by activist Siyabulela Jentile, is demanding a life sentence for the sexagenarian [name withheld because he is yet to appear in court] from Soshanguve, north of Pretoria, accused of strangling his girlfriend's daughter.

#NotInMyName on Tuesday delivered groceries and other household consumables to the family. 

The accused is expected to make an initial appearance in court on Friday, facing a murder charge following the retrieval of the body of his six-year-old step-daughter from a dam in Block GG, Soshanguve.

On Tuesday, Gauteng police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said preliminary investigations suggest that the child was targeted after a fight between the sexagenarian and his 22-year old girlfriend, who is the deceased child's mother. 

"At the time of the child's disappearance, it is alleged that the mother was not at home. The three lived together in Block PP2, Ndlozi Section in Soshanguve. Police on Sunday embarked on a search for the little girl after she had been reported missing at Rietgat SAPS [police station]," said Peters.

"During the critical initial investigation, police were able to swiftly establish that the 60-year old suspect was behind the disappearance of the child; whereafter the man on Monday afternoon, a day after the child's disappearance, pointed out to the police the exact spot where he had allegedly dumped the body of the six-year-old child."

Peters said while the nature of visible injuries on the victim's body suggest that the child had been strangled, the exact cause of death will be confirmed by the outcome of the post mortem set to be conducted in due course.

"Police have at this point been able to also establish that the suspect is an ex-convict who previously spent 25 years behind bars for the murder of his then ex-wife and her lover," said Peters.

Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters in Gauteng said it has been "outraged" by the incident. "We demand not only one life sentence but more, because the murder of a little kid is beyond murder. 

"It is sheer, vicious evil. No six year stands even a miniscule chance at survival under attack by a fully grown man. 

"Further, in RSA today African women and children are under immeasurable  siege and the business as usual life sentence is not helping nor serving as a deterrent as is evident," provincial chairperson Mandisa Mashego said.

"We mourn alongside the family and pray that they will find peace and solace as this horrific loss remains a heartbreaking reality."

African News Agency (ANA)