Cape Town gang murder accused shows off tattoos to judge

The Western Cape High Court.

The Western Cape High Court.
Ashraf Hendricks
  • A man on trial for three gang murders denied having anything to do with it. 
  • He said he only became a member of 28s gang when he was taken to prison.
  • He and three others are accused of killing a grandpa, his granddaughter, and an eyewitness to the shooting.

One of the four men accused of murdering a four-year-old girl and her Uitsig grandfather showed off his tattoos in the Western Cape High Court during his trial on Monday.

He cannot be named because he was arrested at 16, although he is an adult now.

He is alleged to be part of a street gang, called Ama Don’t Care, and is the co-accused in the murder of Christie Cornelius and his granddaughter, four-year-old Likeshia, in Geranium Street in Uitsig.

His co-accused are: Mahlubandile “Hlubi” Jacobs, Moegamat “Gamie” Swarts and Vincent “Skelato” Davids.

They are also accused of murdering an eyewitness, Glenda Ruiters, who lived across the road from the shooting. Another potential eyewitness was also shot, but survived.

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Ruiters had answered a knock at the door when she was shot in the head.

According to the indictment, the Ama Don’t Care formed when another gang in Uitsig, called G-Unit, was “dismantled”.

The Ama Don’t Care took in members who were 28s and sometimes 26s.

Cornelius was a 26s gang member, who had refused to join the Ama Don’t Care street gang because he didn’t want to be involved in gangs anymore, so he was shot dead, according to the State.

When he was killed, his granddaughter, who was playing on the back of his bakkie, was also ruthlessly gunned down.

The accused face three charges of murder, one of attempted murder, charges of belonging to a gang, plus weapons and ammunition charges.

The man in the stand, who cannot be named, flatly denied being part of a street gang.

He said he did not know much about gang activity in Uitsig, where he lived before the shooting.

He said his uncle, Silas, and a man called “Toodles” were leaders of the “Terribles”, but Silas was shot dead.

He said he didn’t know who shot his uncle – but, after that, he moved to his sister in Delft because people were still coming round to the house, where he lived, to harass them.

The State, however, alleges that he returned to the area to kill Cornelius, which he denied.

READ | Girl, 4, shot dead in Cape Town

He said he only became part of the 28s when he went to prison, awaiting his trial for the triple murder and attempted murder charge, after his mother took him to the police station.

She heard the police wanted to question him, so she went to fetch him in a taxi and took him to the police.

“I found the 28s inside,” he testified, as he explained that he had not been in a gang at the time of the shooting.

He took the court through the different gang signs, but insisted that he knew nothing about street gangs, repeating “I do not bear knowledge of that” in fast mumbled Afrikaans when asked specific questions.

To prove the gang charge, prosecutors must show the accused associated themselves with gangs through their signs and markings and the criminal activity they plan.

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Pictures from a Facebook account, with the post, “Rule number 1: Fuck what they think. Ama Don’t Care”, with a different name, were shown to him by the prosecutor.

He flatly denied that he had posted this and said even the name on the profile was not his.

The prosecutor pointed out that his name and surname were in the Hypertext Transfer Protocol Transfer security line on the Facebook page, although the name under the profile picture was different.

Still, he stood his ground and denied it was his page.

The prosecutor asked him if he had any tattoos, and he said he had one that reads “28” on his right wrist.

The prosecutor was about to move on to another topic when he slapped his left wrist and said to Judge Robert Henney: “Actually, I have two, your honour.”

Henney peered over, asked to see the tattoos, and requested the man to explain its significance.

“This one says, ‘Love is pain’. I got that in Horizon,” he told Henney, referring to a holding centre for youths awaiting trial.

“What does that one say?” asked Henney.

“Lorenzo,” he said, explaining that it was a tribute to his late brother, who was shot dead.

He insisted he was nowhere near the shooting and also could not remember what he was doing that day, other than being at home in Delft.

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Henney found this difficult to comprehend.

“What did you do yesterday?” Henney asked.

“Played dominoes in prison,” the man replied.

Henney did not accept that the man could not remember what he was doing on such a crucial day of his life.

“I was only 16. There are a lot of things I can’t remember,” he said.

The trial continues.

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