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Cape Town - The mother of Rashied Staggie’s rape victim said that she was preparing for her daughter’s funeral when a senior police official revealed that her daughter is still alive.
The Manenberg mother, 55, said she was shocked to find out her daughter is recovering after an attempt on her life by gangsters.
She said her family spent a few weeks collecting donations for her child’s burial, until Friday’s shocking news.
Mitchells Plain Police Commander Major-General Jeremy Vearey visited the grieving mother and told her that her daughter is alive.
And he said that he takes full responsibility for everyone, including the media, thinking the girl had died. She was shot five times near her Manenberg home in July.
“I exploited the fact that the Hard Livings thought they had gotten rid of her,” said Vearey.
He said the police needed time to get the now 30-year-old victim safely into the witness protection programme.
“I know there were gang members scouring the hospital wards looking for her as well as going to her family’s houses. We needed to protect her,” added Vearey.
The police then relied on that misinformation and even her mother didn’t know whether she was dead or alive.
“I am responsible for the life of a person, I will do whatever is necessary to ensure their safety,” said Vearey.
The woman has now been integrated into the witness protection programme.
In July, the 30-year-old victim and a friend, Romano Oliver, 27, were shot while walking home in Manenberg. Romano died at the scene.
The woman crawled to a friend’s home and identified her attackers before she was declared brain-dead.
After weeks on life support, the young mom-of-five was put into an induced coma.
Her family believed she died days later, but she was in fact recovering.
Even television and newspapers have been revealing the woman’s identity - assuming she was dead.
“When they (doctors) told me they were going to switch off the machines, I went hysterical,” the victim's mother told the Daily Voice.
“I couldn’t stop crying and I held her tight.”
That was the last time she saw her daughter alive.
Despite having no record of her daughter’s death, Jacobus said she started with funeral arrangements.
“I didn’t have a death certificate because I thought she was dead,” the mother said.
“On Friday afternoon, General Vearey came to my house, I didn’t know who he was.
“He then told me that my daughter is not dead.
“I was shocked and I couldn’t believe what he was telling me because of all the trauma we were going through.
“I just looked at him and I told him about the funeral arrangements.
“We believed she was dead,” she added in disbelief.
“Now people are going to think we lied.
“He (Vearey) said he is sorry about it but she is still alive and she’s doing well.
“Vearey says she (my daughter) asked where Romano was and when they told her he is dead, she cried.”
The woman said she does not believe Staggie had anything to do with her daughter’s shooting.
“Why would he do something like that if it is going to jeopardise his parole?” she asked.
Staggie is currently serving 15 years in prison for ordering the rape of the woman when she was 17 years old.
On September 23, Staggie is set to be released on day parole.
While speaking to the Daily Voice outside her home, a nervous mother glanced up at every passer-by, checking to see if they are gangsters.
“We all live in fear and we know they are watching us,” she said.
“If my daughter does recover, she can never come back home because she will never be able to live a normal life.”