The man accused of killing 3-year-old Courtney Pieters will appear before the court next week to stand trial for one count of murder, one count of kidnapping and two counts of rape.
The Goodwood Magistrates court postponed the case to next week to allow 40-year-old Mortimer Saunders to ensure he could gather legal counsel.
The Elsies River toddler was found buried in a shallow grave on Saturday in Epping Industria, nine days after having been reported missing by her family.
Saunders, a childhood friend of Courtney’s father who was boarding at the house where the Pieters family lived, was linked to the crime via CCTV footage.
The family and community have been under complete shock since the weekend when the toddlers body was found.
“I trusted this man around my family and he took my child away from me”, said mother of the victim, Juanita Pieters. “He killed her and he must pay for what he did. I will make sure.”
Some reports state the man carried the toddler’s broken body in a plastic shopping bag before placing the body in a field where search parties then found it.
However, both the South African Police Services and the victim’s family say that they are still waiting on results of an autopsy.
Elsies River residents have shown great solidarity with the Pieters family by holding prayer meetings and vigils in and around the community. Many residents have called on parents to increase security surrounding their children.