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Cape Town - After repeatedly declaring he was innocent of the rape and murder of Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen, Jonathan Davids, 22, is a free man after the State announced it had no evidence against him.
Earlier this year, Davids and co-accused Johannes Kana were arrested for the murder and mutilation of 17-year-old Booysen.
She was savagely gang-raped before being disembowelled and left for dead. She died from her injuries in Tygerberg Hospital on February 2.
The court heard that clothing and shoes containing blood spatters sent for DNA analysis came back with no evidence linking Davids to the attack on Booysen.
On Tuesday, a jubilant “yes!” was heard from family and friends as the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court heard that Davids was free to go.
State prosecutor Maria Marshall announced: “The State is withdrawing the case from Davids. He was implicated in this case, but after a thorough investigation the State has decided to withdraw the case against him.”
The case against Kana was postponed to June 3 for plea proceedings before being moved to the Western Cape High Court.
Outside court on Tuesday, National Prosecuting Authority spokesman Eric Ntabazalila said there was no evidence to link Davids to the murder.
“The State has withdrawn charges against Jonathan Davids. It means that there is no evidence linking him to the case, the investigation has been finalised.
“Initially, he was implicated in the matter. A thorough investigation has been done and there is no evidence to secure a conviction.
“Evidence has come back and it couldn’t link him to the crime. There was a confession from Kana, though, and he is facing charges of rape and murder,” Ntabazalila said.
After the ruling, angry South Africans took to social media to express their outrage, with one calling it “appalling”.
Back home with his friends and family on Tuesday, Davids said he felt disappointed.
“I probably told them 30 times that I was innocent.”
He added that he managed to get through four months of jail with the support of God and the knowledge he was innocent.
“The evening they arrested me was the first time I heard about Anene. They never said she had died; they only told me the next day.
“The last time I saw her she only greeted me in the pub.”
When asked how he felt when it was said during his bail application that Anene allegedly said it was a “bruin” Zwai that did it to her, Davids said he knew he was innocent.
“I can’t believe what her mother and what they (the community) thought of me.”
He added that now he had been released he felt nothing and did not know what he would do on his first day back home.
“I missed everything (while in jail).”
Davids said Anene had been like a sister to him and that he would visit her grave.
“The real perpetrators are still walking free.”
His family and friends celebrated at their home with a braai on Tuesday.
Davids’s uncle, Nico September, said he was grateful to all those who had supported the family.
“I knew he was innocent. So many were against us. The detectives and police officers are not doing their jobs properly.
“No one even questioned whether Anene was mutilated or not. At the moment, you are guilty until you prove that you are innocent.”
Francois Davids, Jonathan’s brother, said he was deeply happy to have his sibling back home.
“I am relieved that he is finally free. We always supported him.”
Meanwhile, Johannes Kana - Kana’s uncle - said he was unable to find a job because his name was the same as his nephew’s.
“I have sent out six CVs, but I can’t find a job… I don’t have money.
“My wife also can’t find a job because of her surname and my children are also suffering because of it.”
Kana added that their family supported his nephew whether he was guilty or not.
“All of us are positive. If he has done it and is still in jail we will support him because we are family.”