Emotions were highly charged in Elsies River on Thursday after the shocking news of Tazne van Wyk’s body being found outside of Worcester late Wednesday night. The suspect Mohidien Pankager, 54, took police to the site of her body after he was arrested on Monday in Cradock. He had been on the run for two weeks.
Clare street in Connaught Estate was filled with community members sending their condolences and showing support to the family, who were visibly distraught by the news. Tazne’s mom Carmen went into a state of shock and collapsed after she heard the news. She has been hospitalized and relatives are receiving trauma counseling.
The community is torn apart by what has happened to Tazne, with many blaming the relatives and friends of the suspect for knowing he was on the run. The fact that the perpetrator lived across the road from the victim is truly disturbing. The tuckshop where she was allegedly taken is on the same property as his relatives’ home where he resided.
Tazne went to the shop across the street and was last seen with Pangaker on their way to Parow station. The community is fearing for their lives and the future of their children and residents cannot fathom what has taken place in their community. Many of the community members said that the death penalty needs to be implemented as it is not his first offense with a child. Pangaker was arrested for killing his own two-year-old son.
Human Rights Commissioner, Chris Nissen, expressed his sadness.
“All hope was smashed this morning when the news was brought of her body being found. Obviously, the community is very angry and very sad. The community needs to stand together and start saying that ‘your child is my child and take responsibility. The parole board should reconsider when they start giving parole to categories of this nature. We are not saying that it is all of them. There are some of them who are paying their dues, people of this nature need to be monitored daily, not just in this case,” he said.
Nissen said he understands the community is seething, but warned them not to take the law into their own hands.
“We should let the law take its course. As community members you need to speak out and be responsible. Report a crime when you know about it even if you want to remain anonymous,” said Nissan.
Tazne’s aunt Natasha Van Wyk claims the suspect’s relatives knew his where abouts.
“The uncle of the perpetrator and his daughter were on the phone with him all the time. The uncle said that he knew where Tazne was but did not want to say as he was scared the community will think he is part of the kidnapping. If he had taken us to fetch her Monday she would not have died,” said van Wyk.
The street was filled with people who expressed their anger and frustration with the justice system. Many residents are demanding the President take action and reinstate the death penalty for such offenders.
Many parents related that the days of children being safe in the park or walking to the shop is over and communities need to stand together to ensure the safety of the children. Some organisations have organised that members walk children to schools or buses then back home and patrol at the gates of parks.
‘’We monitor day and night with the community. We have searched for Tazne at the parks, bushes and cemeteries. It is very sad that this has happened, and most members are traumatised and need counselling,” said Veronic of Pink Ladies.
“I sincerely hope the community who has assisted for the past two weeks continue to do this and continue to help keep our children safe. Hands off our children, our children need to live not to die. I urge parents at home who have the extra eyes to keep them on your neighbours’ children who are not at home. ”
Everyone who spoke about Tazne burst out in tears in fear of it being their own children. The fear of sex offenders and rapists being out on parole and coming into communities and violating the rights of people within the community is prevalent. Some community members said that he should receive the death penalty so that he can feel what Tazne felt when she was murdered.
The family of Pangaker were not home when journalists wanted to ask questions. He will appear in Goodwood Magistrate’s court on Friday on murder charges and other additional charges.