ECDs lament death of toddlers

Members of Khayelitsha Early Childhood Development Forum have urged the government to formulate and apply stringent penalties against people accused of abusing and killing women and children.

This as five-year-old Uyathandwa Stuurman was allegedly raped and stabbed to death by a man in her area of Makhaza last week Monday.

They said as women, together with their children, they feel unsafe in society.

Nosiphiwo Dzedze, chairperson of Siyaqhubeka Area Forum and principal of Nikithemba Educare centre in the vicinity, described Uyathandwa’s death as devastating­.

“We are very saddened by her death. She was still very young and her family was expecting a lot from her. She didn’t deserve to die the way she did. As Khayelitsha ECD Forum we want the courts to ensure that the perpetrator rots in jail. He doesn’t deserve to stay with human beings,” said Dzedze.

She said a similar incident happened last year in Graceland, Town Two, where a young Iyapha suffered the same fate as Uyathandwa.

Uyathandwa’s former principal, Buyiswa Lostile, at Litha Lethu Educare, also in the area, said it is difficult believe that she (Uyathandwa) is gone.

“I heard about her death through a WhatsApp message from other community members. Initially, I was confused and I didn’t know who this Uyathandwa they were talking about was until they thoroughly explained to me,” she sighed.

Lostile also described Uyathandwa as a lovely child who liked to lead with song in class.

“She was a cute little girl, full of energy, talkative and would correct other children if they pronounced a word wrong. Sometimes, I’d confront her father when he brought her late to school because she was one of those who liked to be in the lead in everything,” said Lostile.

She urged parents to send their children to school rather than leave them in the care of siblings or neighbours.

“Even if a parent doesn’t have a money, they can come and talk to us ... We will allow the child to stay at school.”