- A horrific case involving multiple rapes, sexual assault and severe beatings emerged during the trial of the man accused of murdering his young neighbour Tazné van Wyk.
- Heard during Women’s Month, the case involves heinous crimes against women and children either related to him, or who lived near him.
- He pleaded not guilty to everything but admitted during cross examination that he absconded from parole. News24 takes a look at last week’s testimony.
The Western Cape High Court heard one of its worst cases of multiple attacks on women and children during Women’s Month, in a case that hasn’t garnered much public attention after the initial outrage when the body of his final alleged victim, 8-year-old Tazné van Wyk, was discovered.
When the Elsie’s River girl was found raped, murdered, and her left hand chopped off after she went missing on 7 February 2020, her family was surrounded by politicians and sympathisers beating a path up to their house.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and Police Minister Bheki Cele arrived to offer condolences to Tazné’s parents, Terence and Carmen, whose humble home was overrun with a steady stream of politicians, assistants and journalist. The anger over her murder was heightened when it emerged that the accused had a long criminal record, but still got parole, which he had absconded from.
A house was burnt down in anger over this man. A court fence was pushed over in one of his earlier appearances and, at one point, a man using a crutch tried to attack him with it.
Being on trial has not been much safer for the accused. He has to travel alone in a police van after he was severely beaten up in a prison truck transporting a lot of detainees from Pollsmoor Prison to the High Court.
Now, Tazné’s parents sit up against a wall in the last row of Court 6 in the Western Cape High Court, with the only support coming from a small loyal group of women from the Mitchells Plain Crisis Forum, who had searched high and low for the little girl when she went missing.
These women are volunteers who drop everything when they get a missing person’s report in the area, and spread out to turn over stinking mattresses and scratch through rubble in the hope of finding a missing person still alive.
Little did the search parties know that, according to the accused, not long after she disappeared from her short walk to a tuck shop across the road from her home, she was in a taxi with him, driving to Malawi Camp, Parow, Paarl, and finally dropped off on the side of the N1 near Worcester.
It was near here that her little body was eventually found, decomposing, with a cracked skull, broken ribs, cracked pelvic cartilage, maggots around her pelvic area, and her right hand sawn off. It’s still missing.
But, more horror was to come.
This week the court heard that the reason he skipped parole was because he had impregnated his daughter.
He denies raping her, and claims that it was her that initiated the “sex”, adding that she “wanted it” every other day.
After she had the baby, she came back to the Cape and told everyone the father of her child had died.
The case just got worse. The court heard that when the child was nine, he repeatedly raped her too. He denied this , saying the child was lying.
The court heard this week that when the little girl saw the story of Tazné on TV, she decided to break her silence.
Her grandmother, the accused’s ex-wife, testified tearfully that the child had begged her not to say anything. The woman testified in exchange for immunity from prosecution for not reporting it.
He has also denied severely beating some of his children, and when confronted with pictures, he said the children just played roughly in the back yard.
Searches on his background reveal that in 2009 he appealed against a 10-year sentence for the kidnap and culpable homicide of one his children, who he beat to death because the child was crying.
He lost the appeal, but was granted parole later.
During the trial, he veers between mumbling, saying the police broke his false teeth, and then long loud explanations animated with his large gloved hands.
When the trial resumes on Monday, the prosecution is expected to start cross-examining him on the bizarre day he said he and Tazné had when they got into a taxi to give four “foreign” people directions.
He testified this week that Tazné was killed by four people with a foreign accent in bushes near Laingsburg, while they held him captive.
Speaking outside the court this week, Tazné’s father Terence said the testimony has been terrible for them, and he is thinking of asking for some debriefing for himself and Tazné’s mom.
During the adjournment, there is no victim support room for them, or gathering of politicians to comfort them. They stand outside in the wind, or huddle against the drizzle while they wait for the next terrible session.