By Loushe Jordaan-Gilbert
The aunt of a young girl from Lavender Hill has described the horrific moments leading up to her death. Nathlia Pienaar was struck by a stray bullet during a gang shooting outside of her home on Saturday while skipping with her rope. The 6-year-old was declared brain-dead on arrival at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital but succumbed to her injuries. She died seven hours later, surrounded by her family. According to her aunt, Natasha Davids, a bullet meant for the girl’s 24-year-old uncle hit her in her head.
“I was preparing to wash both my daughter and Nathlia. I told her that she can’t wash in my daughter’s bath water because it was too dirty. She then disappeared and I saw her playing in front…,” she recalled.
“In a matter of seconds, I focused my attention on my daughter thinking Nathlia was okay and then I heard the shots and my frantic aunt screaming for my brother.
“I turned at the gate and saw Nathlia covered in blood. I could see she tried to run away when she realised the shots were close by, but a bullet hit her in the head. The shooting just continued and there was little I could do to help her,” she said.
Davids said the thing that brought tears to her eyes was seeing her lifeless niece clutching her skipping rope while blood poured down her face.
“I will never erase that picture from my mind…all that blood. She was laying there as if she was in a deep sleep, but she was filled with blood and it was horrible to witness,” she added.
The 24-year uncle, who Davids confirmed to be part of a rival gang, also sustained some minor injuries and has since been discharged from hospital.
Police spokesperson FC Van Wyk has since confirmed that two suspects aged 18 and 20 were arrested on Sunday.
“Following a shooting incident that occurred in Lavender Hill on 2019-08-24 where a six year old girl was killed and a male victim was injured, Anti-Gang Unit members worked around the clock in search of suspects. Their investigation led them to a house on Sunday (2019-08-25) where two suspects aged 18 and 20 were arrested on charges of murder and attempted murder. The pair are due to appear in court once charged,” he said.
Steenberg CPF chairperson, Gavin Walbrugh said it was important for the community to speak out and work with local authorities to end violence plaguing the communities. He said that many times, the perpetrators are known to the residents but out of fear, they choose to turn a blind eye which leads to innocent lives being lost on the Cape Flats.
“Even though there is a lot of outcry from communities, we can’t do anything because residents don’t come forward and the gangsters know this. We as a community have to stand up and take a stand. We have to do our bit to stop this dangerous trend from continuing,” he urged.
The memorial service for the late Pienaar is set to take place at Levana Primary School at 7pm on Thursday and her little body will be laid to rest on Saturday 31st August.