Justice for Tazne van Wyk

Issued by Alexandra Abrahams MP – Deputy Shadow Minister for Social Development and Tygerberg 1 Constituency Head
15 Feb 2023 in News

As the Democratic Alliance Constituency Head for Tygerberg 1, I welcome the just sentencing of convicted murderer, serial rapist and child predator, Moehydian Pangaker, which was handed down by Judge Alan Maher yesterday, 14 February 2023.

The offender was found guilty of 21 of 27 charges which include eight counts of rape of children, sexual assault, sexual exploitation of children, several counts of assault on a child, kidnapping, incest, desecration of a corpse and absconding from parole.

It has been three years since the brutal murder of 8-year-old Tazne Van Wyk which took place on 7 February 2020. Family and friends, as well as the Ravensmead community, have finally received justice in the form of a nine-life term sentence for this monster.

While South Africans can breathe a sigh of relief that a serial predator has been taken off the streets and placed behind bars for life, we can never forget failures of the Department of Correctional Services and criminal justice system.

In a parliamentary written reply, the Department of Correction Services confirmed the offender was out on parole and had absconded at the time of Tazne’s kidnapping, brutal rape and murder. (see here)

The offender was initially sentenced to 10 years in prison for kidnapping, child molestation and culpable homicide in April 2008.

He was placed on parole on 3 April 2013. On 18 November 2013 he was declared an absconder and re-admitted to prison on 12 August 2015 after being arrested for driving without drivers’ licence and possession of stolen goods. He was denied parole for a period of 1 year and 2 months, but was again placed on parole on 17 October 2016 until 18 May 2019 wherein he absconded again on 6 February 2019.

The Department of Correctional Service confirmed the offender attended the restorative justice programme while in prison, but clearly, he was not rehabilitated before being released on parole and back into society. Reducing this to yet another ‘tick box’ exercise.

A grave injustice was that victim/offender dialogue was not compulsory in 2013, when the offender was released on parole, and consequential not done.

This case was postponed for six times with one of the reasons being that the severely  underfunded and under-resourced Legal Aid by national government, did not have any practitioner available to commence with the trial on 25 October 2021 and thus, the trial only commenced on 16 May 2022.

The Department of Correctional Service’s own statistics, indicate there is a total of 9432 parolees who were still on the run from correctional services, of which, 6384 are in the Western Cape, at the time of August 2022.

On behalf of the Democratic Alliance, we salute the brave women who testified on the years of abuse at the hands of this monster. We pray and hope the family, friends and community of Ravensmead can finally begin their journey of healing as they come to terms with this senseless tragedy and loss of their little angel Tazne Van Wyk – we will always remember her name.