Johannesburg - The Springs “Monster” was not alone. Police should question his wife about how the couple disciplined their children in their Springs home, which has now been dubbed “the house of horrors”.
The family of the husband are furious at the “unspeakable allegations” that the man had held captive his wife and five children, aged between 2 and 16, tying them up and not allowing them to move around freely.
“It’s all lies. He is not a monster,” his aunt told the Saturday Star on Friday. The family had lived with her for a few months before they moved to Plantation Road.
“I saw them last month. My husband and I visited them. It was one of the kids’ birthday party. The children were always free, they could do anything or walk anywhere.”
She said the wife should have been arrested alongside her husband.
But the woman admitted that her nephew “had a short fuse”.
“He could be very aggressive. But so could his wife. She also hit the children. They did it together. Why isn’t she arrested? Why does she get all the media coverage and is portrayed as the victim?” the woman asked.
The man appeared at the Springs Magistrate’s Court on charges of abuse, defeating the administration of justice, attempted murder and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
It is claimed that the man kept his family captive and may have sexually molested and tortured them. The children have not been to school and their births have not been registered.
He was arrested last week after the couple’s 11-year-old son ran away and allegedly raised the alarm that he was being abused at home.
But the aunt said that the wife was the first to hit the youngster in the face, adding that this was what had led him to flee the house.
She said that her nephew’s wife was “running scared” and feared being arrested as well.
She said her own daughter, who worked at the nearby shopping centre, had seen the wife with two of the children shopping just two weeks ago.
“She saw them and asked where the other children were. The wife told her they were with their father in his bakkie,” she said.
The woman was outraged at reports that the father had raped his own daughter.
“Even if he was the devil himself, he would never do that to his own child,” she said.
Another family member vehemently denied the damning reports, saying that the “truth needed to come out”.
He said it was disappointing that police had taken the wife’s word without interviewing the husband’s friends and family.
“Why does she not want to give her husband money for bail. It’s all very suspicious?” he said.
The man said as far as he was aware, the couple had home-schooled the children and that their eldest daughter worked at a scrapyard.
When the Saturday Star phoned the wife, her sister answered and said she was doing “fine”.
She declined to say anything further about comments made by the husband’s family.
Meanwhile, Rishad Abdoola, the owner of Nieat Investments, which owns the Plantation Road house, said he hadn’t noticed anything untoward when he visited the property. “They were just a normal family. I didn’t ever see anything strange when I went there. The kids were always playing outside and the wife was there. I am just shocked at this.”
He said many of the allegations seemed strange, including that reports this week suggested the man had been holding his family captive at the house for 10 years.
“They only moved in a year and a half ago. He was a normal guy, he owned a used car dealership down the road. The only thing I can say is, he hasn’t paid his rent for three months.”
On Friday when the Saturday Star visited the house, the security guard showed reporters a pile of letters of demand from debt collectors. Later, a man who had driven from Mpumalanga arrived demanding to see the father. He said he had sold his car to him and wanted his money. He was shocked to learn the man was in jail.
Nathi Mncube, a spokesperson for the National Prosecuting Authority, could not comment.
“The case is before a court. We can’t comment on evidence that could be led during his bail application or during the trial. We can only decide whether anyone else will be arrested when the evidence is led.” – additional reporting by Rabbie Serumula