‘Playful’ Nathlia killed in crossfire

Nathlia Pienaar was playing with her skipping rope when she was caught in a crossfire in Lavender Hill.

While waiting for her bath water to be heated
on Saturday morning, Nathlia Pienaar stepped outside her Lavender Hill home to skip. It would be the last time her family saw the six-year-old girl vibrant and alive.

Nathlia was playing with her skipping rope in Grindal Avenue when she was caught in crossfire and shot in the head about 10am. She died at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital hours later.

Her uncle Bradley Timmies said she had been running back into the house when a bullet hit her in
the back of the head. 

“She was trying to take cover but was already shot when she got closer to the gate. She was a shy child when you first met her but very talkative at home.”

Nathlia was the youngest of three siblings, and was part
of the Vipers Table Tennis
Club.

She will be remembered as a playful and friendly child who was friends with all of the other
Grade R pupils at Levana Primary School.

She was described as a playful and lovely child by her
Grade R teacher and school principal André Lamprecht.

Mr Lamprecth said she was friends with all her fellow
Grade R pupils who play together in one courtyard. 

“It is very disappointing and tragic that
children are not safe anywhere in Lavender Hill. They are always at risk. It is also a sad reality that
children are exposed to this
trauma every other day and they cannot getaway from it,”he
said.

Nathlia’s class and grade mates received counselling.

Steenberg Community Police Forum spokesperson, Gavin Walbrugh, said the shootings had been ongoing in the area.

At the time of going to print police had not made any arrests in the murder case and he appealed to the community to come forward with information to catch the culprits.

“We’re calling for more manpower and structural support at Steenberg police station and for the deployment of the army to Steenberg police. We also
appeal to the community to
come forward because someone must know who it is. These gangsters just don’t care anymore and the community needs to over-
come that fear and stand to-
gether.”

A 24-year old woman was also shot and wounded.

Steenberg police spokesperson Sergeant Wesley Twigg
said the investigation was still ongoing.

“According to reports the girl was playing outside when a man was approached by unknown
suspects and started shooting.
The child was hit in the head and was taken to a medical facility for treatment. The suspects fled the scene and are yet to be arrested,” he said.

Nathlia’s funeral will be held at the United Reformed Church in Grindal Avenue on Saturday August 31. Viewing is from 8am to 9am and the service starts at 9am. A night vigil will be held in front of her home this evening, Wednesday August 28 and a memorial service will be held tomorrow Thursday August 29, at Levana Primary School.

Anyone with any information about this shooting is asked to contact Steenberg SAPS on 021 702 9000 or Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

The family is still collecting money for the burial and has asked anyone who can assist to call Natasha on 083 347 3356 or Bradley on 062 578 5723.