South Africa

ELSIES RIVER FUNERAL

‘The system has failed Tazne Van Wyk’ 

‘The system has failed Tazne Van Wyk’ 
Archive Photo: President Cyril Ramaphosa offers condolences to the family of murdered eight-year old Tazne van Wyk at Connaught Estate on February 25, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images/Brenton Geach)

It’s been just over a week since Carmen van Wyk and Terence  Manuel found out that their eight-year-old daughter, Tazne van Wyk, had been murdered. They prepared to lay her to rest at a funeral service in a packed church in Elsies River, Cape Town, on Saturday afternoon.

“Our children are getting raped and killed by their own mothers and fathers. We are bleeding inside, we are angry because our children can’t play outside. The system has failed Tazne.” 

These were the words from Nomafrench  Mbombo. She was addressing mourners, who murmured in agreement as she spoke at a packed church in Elsies River at the funeral of eight-year-old Tazne Van Wyk on Saturday.

Mbombo – who is the provincial MEC of Health – said she was speaking in her capacity as a mother.  “While Tazne was outside, [unfortunately] there was a bastard outside looking and saw an opportunity [to take advantage of her]. He was supposed to be an uncle to her,” said Mbombo.

Tazne went missing on Friday, 7 February. On Monday, 17 February, two weeks after her disappearance, Moyhdian Pangarker was arrested in Cradock in the Eastern Cape.

Pangarker, who was staying with his brother-in-law next door to Tazne and is an absconded parolee, then showed the police where Tazne’s body was – in a stormwater drain near Worcester. 

To accommodate the crowd of mourners on Saturday, two tents were erected outside the UGK church in Elsies Rivier and two small-screen TV’s in each tent.  People who came to pay their respects listened outside as speaker after speaker spoke about how heartbroken they were about Tazne’s death. 

 Tazne’s parents Carmen van Wyk and Terence Manuel were seated inside the church, supported by, among others, deputy minister of women, youth and people with disabilities, Hlengiwe Mkhize,  police minister Bheki Cele and Cape Town mayor, Dan Plato.

Addressing mourners, Plato said: “Tazne did not deserve to die like that. Her mother and father will never see their daughter getting married, they will not see the children of their children.”

Pangarker has a criminal record, which includes killing his child. He was released on parole about four years ago after serving eight years of a 10-year sentence for culpable homicide, kidnapping and child abuse. Pangarker then absconded a year ago. 

Crowd control was in force as thousands of mourners attended the funeral service of Tazne Van Wyk in Elsies River, on 29 February 2020. Photo: KARABO MAFOLO

“I remember when I was in correctional services in 2009, we’d go to other African countries and we’d talk about parole and they’d say ‘we don’t know about that here, when you commit a crime you have to serve the full sentence’,” said Mkhize. 

Mkhize said that South Africa needed to re-look at how the parole system worked. Cele agreed. 

On Tuesday, 25 February 2020, when President Cyril Ramaphosa visited the family, he also said that there “was something wrong with the parole system”. 

“I agree with prof. [Hlengiwe] Mkhize [that] we must re-look at our laws. Some are too kind to the unkind. You look at this guy’s crimes, he murdered his own child, that’s why he went to prison. How much more about someone else’s child,” said Cele.

Cele said that when he went to see the family during the week they had raised some issues with how the police had handled the case. Cele said that he would look into it and report back to the family.  Among the family’s concerns were  that the police had been reluctant to search a house that could have been a potential hiding spot for Pangarker. At the time, Pangarker was said to be the last person seen with Tazne and a resident had spotted him on the property.

Pangarker remains in custody and is back in court in April. 

Tazne was buried at Modderdam Cemetery in Belhar. DM

 

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