The mother of murdered three-year-old Courtney Pieters was on the verge of a nervous breakdown as angry community members marched to her house on Wednesday demanding answers.
Juanita Pieters did not come out to face the volatile crowd of about 50 people who gathered at her door in Elsies River. Some made derogatory allegations against Pieters.
Just last week President Jacob Zuma addressed the media at the very same spot and voiced concern that police had treated Pieters like a suspect instead of helping her find her child.
Pieters’ eldest daughter‚ Andrea Pieters‚ said the family was struggling to accept Courtney’s death‚ and had not had the time or space to grieve while dealing with the community backlash.
“Anything could happen to my mother‚ she is at the point of having a nervous breakdown‚” said Pieters.
“People are saying a lot of things about what happened that are not true. It’s too much for us‚ we cannot handle it.”
Earlier the group joined hundreds of other community members and Pieters at the Goodwood Magistrate’s court where murder accused Mortimer Saunders‚ who was a tenant at the Pieters family home at the time of the murder and a lifelong friend of Pieters’ husband‚ appeared.
The case was postponed to August 24 for further investigation.
Chaos erupted outside the court following the postponement‚ and police had to fight off large crowds to allow a police vehicle with Saunders inside it off the court premises.
But it didn’t end there as the crowd split into two main groups with differing views on what had really transpired with Courtney.
Miranda Hynes‚ who has lived in Elsies River for 50 years‚ said that the community was behind the family but that a number of “rumours” were circulating about Pieters which weren’t proven.
“There are people who want to approach [Juantita] but we have to leave her alone‚” Hynes said.
“We are going on hearsay and gossip and we need to let the law run its course. Justice will be served and whoever is involved will be named.”
Victoria Thomas said there was also discontent over alleged financial donations Pieters received following the murder‚ including R10‚000 from Zuma.
She said: “My concern is that people are losing focus. They are more concerned about what is happening at Courtney’s house currently. And the main reason we are here is to get justice for Courtney. It is none of our business what is happening at the house.”
Marchers outside Pieters’ house went back to the magistrate’s court on Wednesday to demand an earlier court date for Saunders to appear.