September 19 2006 at 07:17AM
By Cornelia du Plooy
Four suspects have been arrested in connection with the murder of eight-year-old Janine Rooi of Eersterus.
The four men, aged 25, 27, 29 and 30, were arrested yesterday morning in Eersterus. Janine went missing over a week ago. Her body was discovered on a hilltop on Saturday evening.
It is believed the men were arrested after a witness came forward. One of the men had apparently told his girlfriend what happened, bragging about the killing.
'This affects us all'
Cornelius Rooi, Janine's father, said that by yesterday afternoon the police had not told him of the arrests.
"I had to hear it from friends who heard it on the radio. This is just further proof that nothing will come of this," he said.
Community members were upset about the lack of support they received from the police, claiming that the police were lax in their efforts to find Janine.
But police spokesperson Katlego Mogale said Janine had disappeared on the Saturday of the previous weekend and that the case was only reported on the Sunday. She said a regulation in terms of which there was a 48-hour waiting period before a person could be declared missing "was scrapped years ago".
"A docket was opened and the minute the case was reported members of the Eersterus police station went on a door-to-door search and a chopper was called in. Last Thursday the chopper, along with station and civilian personnel, were involved in another search.
"Other information (led police to) as far as the Carousel in Hammanskraal. Each lead was followed and the family was informed as to what happened when the members returned from following up information.
"It is unfortunate that the child was found murdered. Our condolences to the family. The police have conducted the investigation as required by law and utilised all resources at their disposal to locate the... child," she said.
According to Desiree Fisher of the Eersterus Concerned Parents and Residents' Association, the community had decided to take care of the funeral arrangements and the costs involved.
"This affects us all and maybe this way something good can come out of a horrible situation," she said. "We will hold a night vigil on Thursday at the family's home."
The funeral will held on Saturday at the old Ned Geref Church in Eersterus.
The suspects will appear in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Tuesday.
This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on September 19, 2006