Man who ‘raped, murdered’ 4-year-old was part of her family’s choir

The man accused of murdering and raping four-year-old Keabetswe Tshabalala was a member of the family choir and was trusted by both parents, the girl’s uncle has said.

Modise Motapane was arrested for allegedly raping and killing a family friend’s four-year-old daughter, Keabetswe Tshabalala of Katlehong on the East Rand.

The young girl was found by her parents and family members after the accused had led the family to the crime scene. Motapane reportedly confessed to the crime.

Said the girl’s uncle, Thabiso Radebe: “I am 31 years old this year, but I have never been to the place Modise had led us to. It is after realising this that I alerted the police to investigate him (Motapane).”

Read: A ‘killer’ next door

Katlehong came to a standstill today as community members took to the streets and marched to the Palm Ridge Magistrates’ Court for Motapane’s appearance.

He was set to appear in court pending a bail application and the appointment of a Legal Aid representative. But the case was postponed to September 30 because the legal representative had not met the accused.

Before the appearance, outside court, members of the ANC Women’s League (ANCWL) quietly demonstrated while police monitored the situation closely. They were joined by community members, mostly women, singing and holding placards that read: “Modise you are no bail dog,” while other community members wished the magistrate would grant Motapane bail so they could “deal with him accordingly”.

The women were subsequently joined by a group of preschool students from three local preschools. Their placards read: “We are the world. We are the children. We are the future and we deserve a good education.”

The preschoolers also sang songs and recited messages aimed at encouraging parents, teachers, caregivers and the police to protect children and stop child abuse.

Olga Tsotesti, a family member of the murdered Tshabalala, said she was hurt and “deeply troubled by what this monster did to my great-granddaughter. She did not deserve this.”

The community, assisted by a pastor, later arranged a prayer meeting at the home of the murdered child. They then marched with a convoy of cars and minibuses hired to ferry the community to Katlehong to see the Tshabalala family.

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