Sympathising with Courtney Pieters family, President Jacob Zuma raised concern over the increased cases of crime in the country.
Zuma who visited the family at their Elsies River home on Thursday, reiterated the need for crimes to be dealt so criminals like Mortimer Saunders will have no place in the society.
The society is facing a moral crisis, Zuma said as he slammed the state police for not taking Courtney’s case serious. The President went on to promise to implement harsher laws for criminals.
Three-year-old Courtney Pieters was reported missing on 4 May and her lifeless body was found nine days after, in a shallow grave next to unused railroad tracks in Epping industrial on Saturday afternoon.
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The police who were investigating cases related to her disappearance arrested Mortimer Saunders – a 40 tenant and close friend of the family- and charged him with the toddler’s rape and murder.
A Daily Voice investigation revealed that Saunders’ rented room smelled of death and pools of blood were found in his fridge.
Zuma accused cops of not taking the investigation seriously, as they failed to search the child’s home first, where they could have found her body. He, however, offered a new home to the grieving family.
“I will be speaking to Police Minister Fikile Mbalula. I blame the police for what has happened here and believe we suffer from a serious moral crisis if these kind of things are happening right under our noses,” said President Zuma.
“When the police were asked to come and help they actually almost treated the mother as the perpetrator instead of helping to look for the child,” said Zuma of the nine-day search which involved family and hundreds of community members.
“They could have found the body; they could have found the blood … [but] they did not react as if this was a serious matter.” He said, adding that he would ask Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to address the problem.
Meanwhile, Minister Fikile visited the deceased family on Thursday evening and promised that his department will improve on the investigation in the matter.
The minister said while attending a memorial service for Courtney Pieters at Elsies River Civic Centre on Thursday night that he will see to it that the alleged murderer dies in jail.
“Hierdie (verdagte) moordernaar moet in die prison sterf [This alleged murderer must die in prison],” he said at a memorial service for Pieters in the Elsies River Civic Centre.
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Mbalula said the South African society is sick because of murders such as this taking place.
“The person doing this to your child could be your uncle, your friend your brother. We are a sick society, ons is baie siek,” he said.