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Cape Town - The mother of a Manenberg woman raped on gang leader Rashied Staggie’s instruction more than a decade ago and fatally shot recently, says he has twice reached out to her - once in a phone conversation to apologise.
“This man who lives in the avenue (nearby) dialled a cellphone and gave it to me. He said ‘just listen’. I put my ear to the phone. A voice said: ‘Hello Mums. It’s Staggie’. He said he’s sorry for (the rape). But it wasn’t him,” the woman, 55, told the Cape Times on Tuesday in her Manenberg home.
“He said his wife had a stroke, he just wants to be a free man, that maybe we can sense the Lord together. I said maybe. I told him he can kill me. He can do anything. But the only person that can take my life is the Lord.”
She spoke about the March conversation next to a bullet hole in a window - about three weeks ago someone had shot repeatedly into her house. Now she is afraid to leave her home.
In 2003, Hard Livings gangster Staggie was convicted of kidnapping and raping the daughter, aged 30. The incident still haunts the family.
On July 30 this year the woman was shot a number of times and her boyfriend Romano Oliver was fatally wounded.
The mother said her daughter, with a bullet still lodged in the back of her neck, died a week later in hospital when she decided to switch off machines keeping her daughter alive.
A while after the shooting, the mother said a man she had never seen before arrived at her house. “He said Staggie said he must come from Mitchells Plain to tell me he’s (Staggie) very sorry for what happened. But it’s not him.”
The woman, a mother of eight, said the incident had unnerved her because it was clear her address was widely known.
The shooting at her house last month scared her and her family further.
“We’re forever peeping through the window to see nobody’s coming... After (my daughter) was raped I used to have nightmares about the Hard Livings shooting at us. Now the nightmares are coming back,” the woman said.
A court judgment on the rape said the daughter had become a police informant and Staggie, to restore his trust in her, had her gang-raped.
She was 17 at the time.
On Tuesday the mother said after the rape and kidnapping case, her daughter had remained in witness protection for a few months. “But she missed us. We had no contact with her and could only see her when we met at (arranged venues). We didn’t know where she stayed.”
When the daughter returned to Manenberg, the mother said her family feared for her safety. “We worried about her all the time.”
A few weeks before the shooting she said her daughter had slept over with her boyfriend in Hard Livings territory for a few nights. “I said I’m going to fetch her because they’re going to kill her,” the mother said.
Her premonition became a reality on June 30 when her daughter and Oliver planned to sleep at his cousin’s house in Hard Livings territory.
Her daughter and Oliver started walking to the cousin when her daughter overheard a man nearby saying “there’s the Staggie witness”.
“She told me everything while she was in hospital. They got worried so turned to come back,” the mother said.
A man had stopped the couple and asked for a cigarette.
Then he tried to delay them and prevent them from walking further.
They were then shot at.
“First she was shot in the back. She fell. Then her boyfriend was shot. She was then shot in the head,” the mother said.
“After a while she tried to see if she could move.”
The daughter crawled to a friend’s home nearby and named one of the gunmen.
“When she was in the ambulance she asked if her boyfriend was okay. I lied and said yes. She prayed with me, for her six children, I saw tears come to her eyes. I saw the blood and a small hole in her head,” the mother said.
Two men were arrested for the shooting.
Because her daughter told her what had happened, the mother believed those linked to the men who shot her daughter would try and silence her. “I heard they want to hijack me. We can’t sleep. We live in fear.”
* This story has been edited for legal reasons, and names have been removed. -IOL