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19 children murdered in WC since January - NPA

Three-year-old Courtney Pieters is one of 19 children who've been killed in the Western Cape since January.

Elsies River residents picket outside of the Goodwood magistrates court where the man accused of murdering Courtney Pieters appeared. Picture: Cindy Archillies/EWN

CAPE TOWN - More than a dozen children have been killed in the Western Cape since the start of this year.

In the most recent killing, 3-year-old Courtney Pieters was raped and murdered in Elsies River.

Her alleged killer appeared in the Goodwood magistrates court on Wednesday following his arrest on Sunday night, a day after Pieters' body was found in Epping.

Pieters is one of 19 children who've been killed in the Western Cape since January.

Mortimer Saunders appeared in court in connection with her murder, rape and kidnapping on Wednesday.

The National Prosecuting Authority's Eric Ntabazalila was at court: "From January up to today, there have been 19 children that have been killed in the Western Cape. Twelve of those cases will go to the high court."

The Khayelitsha community appears to be hardest hit by a spate of child murders.

Earlier this month, four-year-old Iyapha Yamile's body was found in a local informal settlement shortly after she'd been reported missing.

Several days later in the same area, a man was arrested for the murder of his 14-month-old daughter, Lindokuhle Kota. Earlier this year, 13-year-old Rene Roman's body was found in Lavender Hill.

Around the same time, police found the body of 11-year-old Stacha Arendse on a soccer field in Mitchells Plain.

WATCH: Elsies River community honours slain Courtney Pieters

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