Port Elizabeth – The mother of a two-year-old little girl who was shot to death during gang crossfire is now “living in fear” after receiving death threats from known gangsters in Port Elizabeth’s Northern Areas.
“Heads are going to roll” were the words passed on to Davidene Ruiters on Friday while the two men charged with the murder of her child, Caydene, stood trial in the Port Elizabeth High Court.
On Friday, Judge Onika Van Papendorp, together with Prosecutor Jason Thysse, defence lawyers and both accused, Marcus Malgas, 25, and Gregory van Staden,30, visited the crime scene in Barcelona, Helenvale, for State witness Craig Morgan to illustrate where shots were allegedly fired from.
Caydene was in front of a house with her mother, sister and four men when a stray bullet hit her in the chest during December last year. The girl was taken to Livingstone hospital but was declared dead shortly after her arrival.
The men charged with the toddler’s murder are apparently leaders in a notorious gang, “Sestien Honde” (Sixteen Dogs), and have pleaded not guilty to 11 charges which include murder, attempted murder and unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition.
A frantic Davidene Ruiters told the African News Agency (ANA) that during the crime scene visit on Friday they had received a message that State witnesses would be “taken out”.
“I don’t know what to do, all of us are in a state, we are not gangsters, we don’t communicate with gangsters, my baby was innocent and she was shot. I don’t know why they want to take us out. I’m going through hell as it is and now this. I can’t take it anymore.”
Davidene slammed politicians from the Democratic Alliance (DA), including leader Mmusi Maimane and Nelson Mandela Bay Mayor Athol Trollip, as well as members from the African National Congress (ANC) who visited her home last year when her daughter was killed.
“When my baby was shot they were there, it was maybe for publicity, but now when we need them the most, there’s no one supporting us. I was already living in fear, I knew this case would be in God’s hands but these death threats … what am I suppose to do now? How am I suppose to feel?” she asked.
The distraught mother said that she was scared to return home and the death threats extended to her boyfriend Ricardo Windvogel, her 16-year old daughter Tamlynn, Juwayne Camfer who testified earlier this week, as well as Morgan who was at the crime scene visit on Friday.
“”We don’t want to go back to the house, who knows what they are going to do to us, these people have guns, they are gangsters from the Sestien Honde,” she said.
A man who did not want to be identified out of fear told ANA that he was disappointed with the DA even though he was a “proud DA supporter”, wearing a bright blue party t-shirt.
“They were just there for the press, even the now Mayor [Athol Trollip] and the councillor Pieter Hermans, they did their work for the votes but now if you want to see them you must make an appointment. I’m going to have to look over my shoulder after we received these death threats from a gang leader’s cousin,” he said.
Meanwhile, back in the court room, Morgan recalled the events leading up to the toddler’s death. He said he started to run when he saw both Malgas and Van Staden with guns approaching the group.
Police earlier said that Malgas was linked to two other shootings in Gelvandale, with the charges relating to murder and attempted murder.
The State alleges the two armed men arrived on foot and randomly fired numerous shots at the group of people.
Earlier this week, a witness testified that Eon Daries, who is affiliated with a rival gang, the Gazas, was present in the group, giving his explanation as to why the shooting took place.
The trial continues on Monday.
African News Agency