A second 18-year-old has been arrested and hauled to court following the murder of a young dad-to-be.
Ishmael Semaai made his first appearance in the Athlone Magistrates’ Court alongside co-accused Rameez Thomas on Wednesday.
The 18-year-olds both face murder charges relating to the murder of Moeneeb Jacobs, 20, in Manenberg earlier this month.
The avid soccer player was shot after he allegedly got into an argument with Thomas.
Standing next to each other, the two accused looked more like confused schoolboys than the hardened triggermen cops claim them to be.
During the brief appearance, the court heard that Thomas had allegedly been assaulted by members of Correctional Services.
Joshua Greeff says his client was “throttled around his neck” and asked if Thomas could get medical attention when he returns to Pollsmoor.
Thomas, dressed in a black tracksuit, however, displayed no visible signs of injury.
Thomas was arrested close to his Manenberg home nearly a week after the shooting.
The teenager was already out on bail for the shooting of three-year-old Faeez Wesso in March.
Thomas admitted he shot the three-year-old in the face in front of the boy’s mom.
During a bail hearing for that case in the Wynberg Magistrates’ Court earlier this year, he claimed he wanted to scare the toddler’s mother when the gun accidentally went off.
Thomas also sports tattoos indicating he is a member of the notorious Hard Livings gang.
Meanwhile, the Daily Voice can reveal that Semaai handed himself over to cops on Saturday, almost two weeks after Moeneeb was shot.
Semaai’s panicked mother Mareldia says she urged her son to hand himself over this weekend.
“I don’t know how to feel about this. Ishmael and Rameez have been friends a long time,” she says.
“People say he [Ishmael] was involved but he was at home that whole week.
“Before he went to the police station on Saturday, I told him we should pray about this.
“When we were done praying, I told my son-in-law to take Ishmael to the station.”
Nervously smoking a cigarette, she says her son was never a problem child.
“He celebrated his birthday a few days ago. Ishmael never gave me any problems,” explains Mareldia.
“I told Rowayda (Thomas’ mother) we must support our children and keep praying for them.
“I also feel sorry for the other mother and her loss.
“No one should point a finger to anyone because none of us asked for this.”
Thomas’ mom Rowayda, who was seated in the front row, tenderly stroked her son’s face as he walked past on his way to the cells after his brief appearance.
Thomas and Semaai both appeared calm and smiled as their respective families left the courtroom.
But drama unfolded outside.
Rowayda confronted Moeneeb’s mom Galiema Alkana, after one of her relatives claimed Rameez’s assault in prison was planned.
“They are accusing us of calling people to get to Rameez,” says Moeneeb’s uncle Suleiman Nash.
“Her son hasn’t even shown any remorse, instead he’s smiling in court like he doesn’t care. He [is arrested for two murders] in three months and they still cover up for him.”
Moeneeb’s mom Galiema says her son was killed because he refused to join the Hard Livings gang.
It’s alleged Thomas threatened Moeneeb and then handed a gun to Semaai who pulled the trigger.
Moeneeb died a few days afterwards.
Meanwhile, Rowayda has threatened to take legal action against the Daily Voice for branding her son a public enemy.
“I’m a mother and I am also suffering. No parent sends their child out to harm others,” she says.
“But he is still my child and I have to support him. I can’t just give up on him.”
Thomas is back in Wynberg Magistrates’ Court on Friday where Faeez’s murder trial continues.
And both boys will be back in court on June 21 for bail in Moeneeb’s murder case.
* This article was published in the Daily Voice