Justice wanted for hit-and-run victims

Brenda Hendricks Tommy, lights a candle for her granddaughter Shaylynn Arendse, 6, who was killed, when a driver jumped the kerb.

The families of 6-year-old Shaylynn Arendse and 67-year-old Maureen Abrahams, who were killed in a hit-and-run, on Strandfontein Road, in Lotus River, want justice.

A motorist knocked them down as they stood on the pavement on the corner of 5th Avenue, waiting to cross the road at about 3pm on Thursday September 27.

Shaylynn, who was in Grade 1 at Strandfontein Primary School, died in an ambulance at the scene.

Ms Abrahams, who looked after Shaylynn, died at Groote Schuur Hospital at about 6pm.

A 24-year-old man from Hanover Park has been charged with culpable homicide and is out on R5 000 bail. He is due back at the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday December 12.

Shaylynn’spaternalgrandmother,BrendaHendricks Tommy, from Lotus River, said her granddaughter lived in Strandfontein with her mother, Sharnelle Arendse, 25.

Her son, Jason Hendricks, Shaylynn’s father, lives metres away from the spot where his daughter and Ms Abrahams were knocked down. Both parents were at work at the time.

Ms Tommy described her granddaughter as a friendly girl with a very bubbly personality who was wise beyond her years.

“She would comment on situations and sum up things like an adult would. She had a sixth sense of knowing when you needed comfort or support,” she said.

“She would hold your hand or stroke your hair.”

Ms Tommy said she had not grieved for Shaylynn because she was in a better place.

“When I was with her in the ambulance,Icouldimmediately let her go because I had so many good memories and special moments with her. I knew she was in safe hands.

“She is with our Lord – in the best place possible. She is safe now. Safe in the arms of Jesus. Safe from harm, disease, illness or the evil of the world,” she said.

Ms Tommy said their neighbourhood was plagued by crime, gangs and drugs, from which children needed protection.

She said the culprit should be held accountable for what he had done.

“He has wiped out the lives of two people. There is no way he can get off the hook because if he does, it will be a travesty of justice,” she said.

Ms Tommy said it was strangely coincidental that Shaylynn would be killed by a white Golf, similar to the one she had driven her granddaughter to school in.

She has set up a Facebook group for Shaylynn and Ms Abrahams and a page to generate interest in the case and keep their memory alive.

All Blacks Worldwide rugby fan group, as part of an international group, have also sympathised with Ms Tommy and her family because Shaylynn was a New Zealand rugby team fan.

“I’ve drawn hope and strength from this worldwide supporters’ group. We have to live with it and we have to accept it, but it is hard,” she said.

Ms Abrahams is survived by her son, Fernando Abrahams, 42. Her uncle, David Abrahams, told the Plainsman on Monday October 15 that looking after children had been his niece’s life.

“She raised Shaylynn,” he said.

He said Ms Abrahams had worked at an orphanage in Lotus River about three years ago.

“She helped people around here however she could,” he said.

Ms Abrahams was a machinist for about 30 years at a clothing factory in Woodstock and would do alterations.

“They were two innocent people just going to the shop to buy
something to eat and witnesses saw this pink bundle, that was Shaylynn, being flung in the air,” he said.

He wants the driver’s licence to be taken away.

Both families have vowed to attend all future court appearances.