Slain girl’s mom calls for death penalty

Beacon Valley mother Christelle Veldsman holds a framed newspaper tribute to her daughter Chantine, 3, who was shot in 1999. With her is the little girls grandmother, community worker Carol Mentor.

A Beacon Valley mother has reiterated calls for the South African government to bring back the death penalty as she marked what would have been the 25th birthday of her daughter who was murdered in 1999 when she was three years old.

A teary eyed Christelle Veldsman, 44, told the Plainsman that Chantine would have turned 25 on Thursday August 20, and that she speaks about her to Chantine’s three siblings every day.

Chantine and her neighbour Jerome Petersen were shot in a Buick Crescent driveway, across from her grandmother Carol Mentor’s house, on June 12 1999.

He died on the scene and she died at Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital two days later. Chantine was the daughter of slain gang boss Glen Khan.

Every year Chantine’s family and friends commemorate her birthday on August 20.

Ms Veldsman said the death penalty would deter criminals from hurting children.

“Whenever I hear a child has been hurt or killed my heart breaks because I am a mother and I know what that pain is to suffer a loss of life,” she said.

She said they bring the community together on Chantine’s birthday to occupy the children and to say thank for their support over the years.

“All these years I carry the pain on my own but would not have made it without their support,” she said.

She said her children aged 16, 11 and seven know about their older sister Chantine.

“Not a day goes by without me talking to them about her.

“They say ‘I would have had a titi. If only she was alive’,” said Ms Veldsman.

Ms Mentor said there was only an inquest into Chantine’s murder on February 7 2006.

She said the family was told that the perpetrators would remain behind bars for other crimes.

“There was no conviction and that is what makes us as the family so bitter.

“We have moved on with our lives but we are disappointed that the justice system has failed us,” she said.

Last week the family was supported by Safeline Child Abuse Treatment and Prevention Centre community development workers, Beacon Valley Walking Bus, neighbours, members of Mitchell’s Plain police and musician Q Rock.