The 9-year-old Lihle Hlanjwa suffered extensive burns, gave a statement to the police about two weeks ago in hospital.
She was raped and set alight on January 18, but, after being found in bush along the R300 the next day, managed to tell residents she recognised the man who had raped her and that he had laughed as he set her alight.
Lihle, also known to family and friends as Queenie, died at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital early on Tuesday.
A community representative, Pieter Presence, said Hlanjwa father had virtually lived at the hospital since his daughter was admitted there.
Hlanjwa’s shack had even been vandalised and burgled while he was away, Presence added.
On Tuesday, police spokesman Andre Traut said the 27-year-old suspect, arrested the day after Lihle was attacked, now faced a rape and murder charge, instead of an attempted murder charge.
The suspect, Wanda Oliphant, is expected to appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court again next week.
Priscilla Mcentee, chairwoman of Delft Suburban, a community neighbourhood programme, said: “I feel like it’s my own daughter that has passed away.”
Mcentee was instrumental in Oliphant’s arrest. The morning that Lihle was found, she had seen a man, with a burnt T-shirt and blood on his pants, behaving suspiciously.
She called for back-up and together with neighbourhood watch members kept the man in a member’s garage.
The attack on Lihle was one of at least three against children in Delft South in less than a month.
A week before the incident, a 6-year-old girl was raped in a communal toilet in the area.
Three weeks after Lihle was raped and set alight, 11-year-old Siphokuhle Flephu was murdered and allegedly raped.