Standing up against child rape and woman abuse

Community members discuss their plan of action at a meeting hosted by the Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum last week.

The newly formed Mitchell’s Plain Crisis Forum held a meeting on Thursday April 20 in Eastridge to mobilise various community organisations to end violence against women and children.

Forum co-ordiator and Tafelsig resident Joanie Fredericks also invited the mothers of slain Stacha Arends, 11, and Rene-Tracey Roman, 13, Sandy Markgraff of Tafelsig and Chrissandre Jacobs of Lavender Hill. “We have drafted an application to oppose the bail application of Randy Tango (arrested for Stacha’s killing) and we also want to petition the court to be a ‘friend of court’ so that court proceedings will run seamlessly. We have constitutional rights and we should make use of it.”

The defeated and grieving faces of the mothers of the murdered girls looked on as Ms Fredericks said: “We want justice and the only way we are going to get it is if we as a community help to facilitate the process.”

Spokesperson for the forum, Faizel Brown said the volume of rape and murder cases “is getting out of control”. “We decided to establish this forum as a result of that. We hope to get schools and religious organisations on board to bolster our efforts. I feel that the judicial system failed Stacha because the alleged accused was released on parole six months before the act was committed. I also feel that if the family were privy to the National Register for Sex Offenders (NRSO) this murder would not have happened because they would have known about Mr Tango’s past transgressions,” he added.

Ms Fredericks shared his sentiments and said the parole board failed Stacha. “They should have consulted with the community before he was released on parole. I feel that they made a hasty decision. We hold the parole board directly responsible and one of our aims is to seek compensation for Stacha’s family. We feel that the police should have left no stone unturned and should have used all the resources at their disposal. We oppose the sale of Mr Tango’s family home because we believe there is evidence in the house that can help the case,” she said.

Stacha’s uncle Henry Arends, 44, was present at the meeting to give his sister Sandy support as she grieved for her child. “She is not ready to speak to the media herself but she is appreciative of the widespread support she has received. She is committed to saving other children from the same fate as her daughter. She is missing her child and speaks often of her. Our family is traumatised by her death and when my father Lodewyk speaks of Stacha, tears just roll down his face.”

Mr Arends said his daughter Tiffany keeps asking what happened to her cousin as they were very close and did everything together.

“We are broken and empty and it will take years for us to come to terms with the senseless killing of Stacha. My sister speaks often with the mother of Rene Roman on WhatsApp. They can relate to each other. As a family we are cut-up but Sandy’s pain must be 20-times worse.”

He said that the family have lived in the same street as the accused since 1991. “Sandy and him are the same age. We are cross that he has put hatred in our hearts because we are not that type of people,” he said.

Ms Fredericks called on the community to support the forum’s cause and to join them at the second bail application of Mr Tango which is set for Wednesday May 3 at the Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court. She also urged residents or businesses to help them to purchase T-shirts with Stacha and Rene’s faces on which will be worn by protesters.

Ursula Peters, principal of Mini Footsteps Kindergarden in Tafelsig, encouraged residents to unite in prayer to stop the acts of violence. They will be meeting on Thursday May 18, at the Eastridge Community Centre, at 10am.