Octavia Skippers and her two-year-old daughter‚ Cleo‚ were laid to rest in white coffins in Cape Town on Saturday. But their family could not have an open casket for the mourners who flocked to bid farewell. Skippers and little Cleo’s faces were set alight by their murderer.

MEC for health in the Western Cape Nomafrench Mobombo and MEC for community safety Dan Plato also attended the funeral.

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Mobombo said: “These funerals are very sad. This could have been my child‚ this could have been me because I am a parent. As a parent you always think that your child will bury you and never you having to bury your child.”

She added that the community must come together and “fight this hatred against women and children”.

Plato spoke about the 21 children who have died in Cape Town just this year alone.

laid to rest

“These rapists and murderers aren’t from other areas‚ they are our own people‚ people from our friends and family circles. All these rapes and killings are done by people known to the victims‚” said Plato.

“We cannot wait for 16 days of activism to start addressing violence done unto women and children. We must speak about it now.”

A group – known as Men Arise in Atlantis – attended the funeral and said that they are sick of the violence against women and children.

“Our children must know that there are good men in society but it all starts with us as men. We must lead by example because what is happening to our women and children is unacceptable‚” said Beauron Ranck. Ward Councillor Barbara Rass said the family refrained from having an open casket because their faces were set alight when they were murdered.

Wilfred Oliphant‚ 35‚ appeared in the Atlantis Magistrate’s Court on Monday. He has been charged with the murder of Skippers and Cleo. His case has been remanded to July 14 for further investigation. Spokesman for the National Prosecuting Authority in the Western Cape‚ Eric Ntabazalila‚ confirmed that the state would oppose bail should Oliphant apply for it.