Cape Town - Activists claim child murders are often used to gain political points and agendas while several cases remain unsolved in the Western Cape.
This week the Cape’s Cold Cases looks at five unsolved cases of children in the Western Cape, dating as far back as 2005.
In all of these cases, the killers were never found, and in some instances, the docket closed and in others, those accused were acquitted.
Last year, Western Cape Provincial police admitted there was no Cold Case Squad or team investigating unsolved murders or missing persons cases, especially that of children.
These are the five cases:
* Tatum Louw, 15 months old:
The bodies of Tatum and her mother Marshay Louw, 18, were found in bushes in Atlantis on April 6, 2012. The bodies were already decomposing when they were discovered. They had been reported missing on March 31 2012.
Randoline Fortune, two, of Valhallah Park was lured away from her home on February 21, 2008. The toddler was raped and later died. Her neighbour Angelo “Boontjie” Petersen, was acquitted in December 2010. Petersen later told the media he was innocent after he was released from police custody.
*Dane Darries, 11, 27 February, 2006 was stabbed eleven times inside a toilet at his Stephen Road Primary School in Grassy Park on 27 February, 2006.
* Nur Malgas’, five, half-naked body was discovered in bushes on the slopes of Hout Bay on April 25, 2005. The boy was missing for two days.
*Oyama Dludla, three, body was found on November 20, 2008, on an open field in Kayamandi, Stellenbosch. He was found with head injuries.
Provincial Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, commented individually on each case.
He said: “ The case of Marshay Louw and her 15- month-old baby is still under investigation by Detective Captain Gavin Liedeman.
“Anyone with any information on this case is kindly requested to contact him on 082 302 4328 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.
“Randoline Fortune, two, of Valhallah Park the accused in the matter has been acquitted in court on a charge of murder.”
In the case of Dane Darries, Van Wyk said the case was filed and would be re-looked at in 2024 and if new leads were found, it would be opened sooner.
Police are still unsure who killed the little boy while he was inside the school toilet that day.
A sharp object which had been used was also never found.
Darries’ case (with Grassy Park SAPS) is currently filed as undetected on February 11, 2019, and will be brought forward in February 2024.
“The suspect is still unknown, and no further leads at this time. The case will be reopened if any new information emerges,” said the police spokesperson.
“Nur Malgas, this Hout Bay murder case has no new developments. No arrests were made in the case. Anyone with any new information to please contact Hout Bay SAPS detectives on 021 791 8693.”
In the case of Oyama Dludla, Van Wyk added that the Hawks had at one stage had the case docket but that it was transferred back to the local police station.
“Oyama Dludla;s case was transferred and investigated by the Hawks back then. The docket was transferred back to Stellenbosch SAPS detectives and an inquest was held, and the docket was closed.
“No suspects could be linked or identified. Be advised that our detectives are following up on all leads, but we also depend on the public’s assistance to furnish us with information to solve these cases.”
Van Wyk added all of the cases needed the input of potential witnesses or information which would help to solve the cases.
An activist for women’s and children’s rights, Roegshanda Pascoe of Action Unity Against GBV, said no matter how forensic testing had evolved, these cases remain unsolved, as did present cases.
She added the sad reality was that politicians often used these cases to gain political points and agendas.
“I was surprised to see that there is a company that does billboards using it to fight trafficking.
“I read that the South African police want to use drones to fight crime meaning they will still arrive after the fact, and evidence will be contaminated and we will still have cold cases like these where perpetrators will walk free because not enough evidence or acquired
“My question will be, is it not better to work hand in hand with the people affected by the crime and with all the corruption.
“Here is a war amongst the citizens that's destructive, where those that should protect and serve also become the perpetrators.
“The State has become the perpetrator by not bringing justice to anyone because they play politics.
“Some parents have died without justice or closure and then I ask myself, a country that fought for human rights becoming the greatest offender when they have medical students that can assist with DNA testing.
“We have committed police officers that have shown great potential to become good detectives but are not allowed to and the NPA are also just puppets in the master's hand.
“We have been reaching out as an organisation for many years but even with our children's deaths, they want to use it as political flags to score points.”
Bronagh Hammond of the Western Cape Education Department said they would have to approach the Safer Schools for comment about Dane Darries’ murder.
Barbara Rass, a former Atlantis ward councillor following the case of the murders of Tatum and Marshay, said a specialised unit was required to investigate these types of crimes.
“It is about time that we must deal with unsolved cases which have not been properly investigated,” she said.
“Local government and national government need to get their house in order where children is murdered.
“It is not every police officer that can investigate such cases, they need to get specialised people. We have too many cold cases that have not been followed up properly, it needs to be prioritised.
“The families do not get inner peace and the perpetrator gets victory. In the case of Tatum and Marshay, these are two murders, their killer is still walking around.
“Globally, investigators are specialised. There needs to be a budget set aside for people to be properly trained for (solving) these crimes, to look at every detail and evidence.
“The moment a person is reported missing, they miss vital information and they need to go back to the reward system to help people coming forward.”