Creating better futures for children

At a celebration of what should have been Chantine Veldsman’s 21st birthday, Father Matt Esau appealed to parents to look after their children to ensure they grow up to fulfil their potential.

The occasion was marked in Buick Crescent, Beacon Valley, on Saturday August 20.

Chantine, who was three years old at the time, was gunned down in a drive-way across from her grandmother Carol Mentor’s home in the same street on June 12, 1999. She was the daughter of slain gang boss, Glen Khan.

“We can’t move back 21 years,” he said.

“We must move to be better, not in celebration of a life that should have been but a contribution to what could have been another life,” said Mr Esau, who officiated at Chantine’s funeral at Christ Mediator Anglican Church.

“It is a celebration for the young people who are sitting here today. They (the children) must remember our parents, Safeline and the police changed to make a difference,” he said.

Mr Esau said the pain of losing a child would not go away but it could be turned into something positive.

Mr Esau was holding Chantine in his arms at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, when she breathed her last breath on Monday June 14, 1999.

He had been one of many who had supported the Veldsman family as they struggled to come to terms with Chantine’s death.

Also shot that day was Jerome Petersen, who died on the scene. Chantine was rushed by ambulance to an open field on the corner of Dagbreek Avenue and Weltevreden Road, from where she was airlifted by helicopter to hospital.

The bullet to Chantine’s brain shattered all doctors’ efforts to save her.

Her mother Christelle Veldsman had been playing netball on a nearby field when she heard her daughter had been shot.

Speaking to the Plainsman last week, Ms Veldsman said: “It’s not like when I had my daughter.

“I do love my children but in a different way.”

Swiping away her tears, Ms Veldsman, who has never received counselling, supports calls to bring back the death penalty.

“There wouldn’t be so many killings. Zero tolerance for gangsterism,” she said.

Ms Veldsman said she still wondered what Chantine would have been like and tries to keep her memory alive by talking about her to her other children.

Her mother, Ms Mentor, said the killing of Chantine had ripped their family apart.

‘We are not the same, like we used to be,” she said.