The man arrested in connection with the kidnapping and murder of 8-year-old Tazne van Wyk absconded from parole a year before she went missing near her home in Elsies River, Cape Town, the Department of Correctional Services said on Thursday.
Department spokesperson Singabakho Nxumalo said Moyhdian Pangarker had served half of a 10 year sentence for culpable homicide and kidnapping when he was granted parole, but he later disappeared.
“In this instance we say he has absconded because when you are on parole, you give us a physical address where we can from time to time conduct business to check on you and be quite sure that you are complying with the parole conditions,” explained Nxumalo amid a wave of grief and anger over the child’s death.
Tazne went missing on February 7, and Pangarker, initially identified as a person of interest, was tracked down to Cradock in the Eastern Cape by Crime Intelligence was arrested on Monday after being on the run. He appeared in court on a charge of kidnapping.
The hopes of Tazne’s mother, Carmen, and father, Terrence, for her safe return were shattered when Pangarker led police to her body in a drain about 5m from the N1 highway outside Worcester, north-east of Cape Town, on Wednesday night.
Pangarker will now also be charged with murder when he was expected to appear in the Goodwood Magistrate’s Court in Cape Town on Friday.
More charges could be added.
Nxumalo explained that midway through a sentence, a perpetrator automatically qualifies for a parole hearing, and reports on the perpetrator’s behaviour in prison and risk to society are considered before a decision is made.
Parole was the right to finish a sentence outside jail, with strict conditions. The victim’s family is also consulted and their views are taken into account. There is also an option for a review if there is unhappiness about a parole decision.
Nxumalo stressed that the victim and perpetrator are both involved in a parole hearing, to prepare the victim for the possible release of the perpetrator. He said in its talks with communities, it heard that they also want to be consulted when somebody was released, not just the victim or their family.
He said the department was working on a model to do so, because it believed neighbours were helpful not just for reintegration, but also to inform authorities when somebody has fallen back into their old ways.
“There are actually more benefits to when communities are involved. They are our eyes and ears as well.”
According to Nxumalo, of the more than 75 000 people on parole, less than 23% re-offend.
Pangarker was granted parole after serving half of a 10-year sentence but then disappeared.
“So with this particular one, our officials went there and they could not find him,” Nxumalo continued, not saying where he had originally lived.
“We usually say maybe someone went somewhere and forgot to inform us – we give a person the benefit of the doubt.
“They went for a second check and he was still not there. They went straight to the police to open a case of abscondment. Then we started looking for him.”
The case was registered on February 6, 2019. When Tazne was reported missing a year later, he was linked to the case.
Nxumalo explained that when the department’s officers asked around the area where Pangarker was supposed to have been living, everybody said they had not seen him for a while. He said that convinced them that he had indeed absconded.
Nxumalo said the department found the murder of Tazne very disturbing.
“It’s very sad,” he said.