From the news desk

Manenberg residents to hold vigil for Charnell

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Members of the Manenberg Safety Forum will march to Audrey court in Manenberg this evening, in remembrance of 10 year old Charnell MacCrawl. Charnell’s dead body was found near a river bank in Primrose Park lost Friday, after she disappeared a day before. According to reports, one of the men arrested for the murder is related to her. A second suspect comes from the same area where she lived. They were both expected to appear in court today.

The forum’s chairperson Roeshanda Pascoe said her murder has brought anguish and pain to the community. Residents will hold a prayer vigil down Manenberg Laan to the space where Charnell spent her last hours.

“We are marching to bring solidarity and love amongst neighbours and our community. But also for us to never turn a blind eye to what is happening to our neighbour’s child, our friends child or our friends,” she said.

Pascoe said she had spoken to the girl’s grandmother, who revealed that she had been raped. This however was not confirmed by police.

“In most cases, the perpetrator is very close to the home. And that for me is a great concern. These people are roaming around and are a threat to other children around us.”

A search involving community members, crime activists and the Manenberg CPF was activated late Thursday evening when Charnell did not attend school. She was a learner at Primrose Park Primary.

“She was reported missing at 7.30pm the evening. We then went to the home to look for clues. We told the family to brace themselves for a worse situation than a missing person,” said CPF chairperson Kader Jacobs.

Jacobs said there needs to be more education for children and parents to be vigilant of their surroundings.

“Charnell went to school with a group of girls. When she didn’t pitch up for school, one would’ve thought they would go to the parents after them and alert them.

Schools should even make a point to call parents, to check why children are not in school. If that happened on Thursday morning, we would’ve known earlier that something was wrong,” he said.

“We also need to also educate friends and family on the child’s routine. They need to know the movements of kids so when children stray from their normal routine, it should be investigated immediately.”

Western Cape police said the two men, aged 32 and 34, will appear in court on Wednesday. According to Lieutenant Colonel André Traut, police had interrogated two other men over the weekend, but they were released as they could not be linked to the murder.

Manenberg is plagued by incessant gang violence, with daily reports of gang cross fire. The high rate of gang activity has prompted the Police Minister Fikile Mbalula to request that the SANDF be deployed to the Cape Flats, however only President Jacob Zuma can approve this.

“We are saying to the gang leaders and members, enough is enough. We cannot allow our children to be killed and murdered in the chaos that you are creating. If you are a parent, you must start waking up. You may kill our child today, but tomorrow is could be yours. It could be your mother, your father, your sister or cousin. This has to stop!” VOC


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