Bredasdorp - The second man to appear in court for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Anene Booysen was described by his family as a sports-loving man from a spiritual background.
Johannes Kana, 21, entered the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court on Monday with his head bowed and his face covered with a towel.
There was an intense interest in his court appearance; the gallery was packed and the media squeezed into the courtroom.
Once the court was full, the doors were locked, and people who had been unable to enter followed proceedings by peering through a grimy window.
Magistrate Graham Cupido told Kana he would appear again on Tuesday alongside alleged accomplice Jonathan Davids, 22.
Both remained in police custody.
A third man was arrested, but has since been released.
Booysen was found raped and disembowelled at a Bredasdorp construction site on February 2, and died from her injuries, although not before naming at least one of her attackers.
She was buried on Saturday.
Cupido granted the media permission to take pictures inside the courtroom, but ordered that no pictures of Kana’s face be published.
When Cupido asked whether Kana would apply for legal aid or have his own attorney, he replied softly that he wanted a State lawyer. His mother jumped up and shouted from the gallery: “Eie prokureur” (own attorney).
When Kana was asked if he would be applying for bail, his mother again sprang up and shouted: “Sê ja, man.” (Say yes, man).
Booysen’s family winced when hearing a sharp knife was used in the crimes.
The family left the court swiftly when the case was adjourned, braving the heavy rain outside.
Outside the court, Johannes Kana, Kana’s uncle (with the same name), spoke passionately of his nephew.
“I am very disappointed. I don’t understand. He was arrested last week Tuesday already, so why did he only appear in court today?”
He told reporters that Kana loved playing sports such as rugby and cricket.
“I am his uncle, but we are like brothers. He worked as a firefighter and he never did any drugs, although he did drink sometimes.”
He added that the family was very spiritual. “He is my own blood, he also has sisters. This is not something we expect from him.
“His father is a leader in church.”
Asked whether he thought his nephew was guilty, he responded: “I cannot say, the Lord knows best. He knows. He is not a violent person.”
He added that his nephew knew Booysen as well as his co-accused, Jonathan Davids.
“I didn’t know her, but he knew her and, yes, he is friends with Jonathan Davids.”
Anene’s grandmother, Ellen Haremse, told the Cape Times on Monday that she had known one of the suspects for seven years.
“He always greeted me and sometimes joked around with me,” she said.
“He was a nice kid and became a decent young man.
“There is nothing bad that I can really say about him.
“They had a very good friendship.
“I would see the two together and they would always be joking or laughing at something or someone.”
Cape Argus and Sapa with additional reporting by the Cape Times