Memorial to be held for Jasmin

Jasmin Pretorius (4) was raped and murdered, allegedly by her uncle, last week.

The crime has sparked outrage in the Brakpan community. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - Hundreds of people have gathered at a Brakpan church for a memorial service in honour of four-year-old Jasmin Pretorius who was raped and murdered last week.

Jasmin's body was found under a bed in her father's house in Brakpan on Gauteng's East Rand last weekend following an extensive search after she was reported missing on Saturday.

The family and police say Jasmin's 23-year-old uncle has since confessed to the crimes, but still needs to plead guilty in a court of law.

Scores of bikers dressed in pink, members of the ANC Women's League as well as members of the South African Police Service, including National Police Commissioner Riah Phiyega, are all attending the memorial service.

Members of Jasmin's immediate family are also expected to attend today's service.

A picture of Jasmin that was used on missing child posters is now being displayed at the front of the church.

Candles will be lit and mourners will pray.

Jasmin's family says her death has sparked outrage not only among the Brakpan community, but from across the world and say they have received an outpouring of support and well-wishes from people they don't even know.

Meanwhile, Jasmin's grandfather, Colin Bam, told Eyewitness News he would like to speak to the accused and ask him why he did it, but for now he just needs to mourn.

"He's going to do his time and will have to live with his conscience."

Bam, who is also a pastor in Kempton Park, says he knows he has to forgive the man, but for now it's too difficult.

ACCUSED TAKEN TO PLACE OF SAFETY

The accused has been put in a place of safety after receiving death threats in prison.

Bam says the family has received requests from prisoners asking if inmates can 'take care' of the accused in prison.

He says although he isn't ready to speak to the man or forgive him, he cannot allow this to happen.

"They have a way of getting messages out and are sending messages asking if we want them to take him out."

The accused appeared in court on 30 December where the case was postponed until 7 January.

BACKGROUND

Jasmin and her six-year-old sister were picked up by their father Morné Pretorius on Friday afternoon from their home in Kempton Park.

The girls were meant to spend the weekend with their father at his flat in Brakpan, which he shares with his mother Isabel du Toit.

The accused and his boyfriend also live in the flat.

Morné left his daughters in the care of their grandmother and uncle on Friday night to go out drinking with his new girlfriend.

He was supposed to return later that night, but decided to sleep over at his girlfriend's house.

Du Toit told Eyewitness News that she went to bed with Jasmin's six-year-old sister and left Jasmin to asleep alone in her father's bedroom.

When Du Toit woke up on Saturday morning, Jasmin was missing.

A team of volunteers and police officers began looking for Jasmin, who was later found under a bed in the flat.