RELATIVES of a nine-year-old schoolgirl brutally raped and slain in Rheenendal outside Knysna have vowed that if the alleged killer is not jailed for life they will kill him themselves.
The body of little Roseline Philander was found late last Saturday after she allegedly disappeared with the 32-year-old suspect earlier that day.
Roseline had been playing with friends when the man, who is well known to the Rheenendal community, apparently approached and asked her to accompany him to a shop.
According to southern Cape police, he was later seen walking alone without the child.
Roseline's body was found in a secluded area of veld, with a severe gash to the throat.
An autopsy on Monday confirmed she had been raped, and this was added to the charge sheet when the man appeared in the Knysna Magistrate's Court on Tuesday. He was remanded until his next court appearance on November 11.
Roseline's family members have called for his blood, saying the only "real" punishment is the death penalty – even if it means by their own hands.
"If he steps into Rheenendal again, we will kill him," aunt Madelaine Oktober said. "He must suffer the way she did."
Struggling to hold back their tears at their humble shack in Keurhoek, Rheenendal, the family said Roseline's 11-year-old brother had told his sister not to go with the suspect, but he was allegedly threatened.
"Her brother and the other children were playing soccer with her in the street," Oktober said.
Another relative, Casoline Philander, said the girl had even "waved goodbye" to her friends as she walked away.
"She was so small and so friendly. Why, why, why did this happen?"
Roseline lived with her father and brother in Gousblom Street. Her mother died several years ago.
Relative Thomas Oktober said the suspect had been in prison for rape committed in nearby Karatara.
"He also tried to molest another young girl here in Rheenendal, but he was caught by a resident ... [and] beaten nearly to death," he said.
Roseline's funeral is at the Rheenendal community hall tomorrow.