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Johannesburg - Clutching her grandson to her chest, Christell Pienaar’s mother poured a handful of sand into her grave.
Pienaar was found stabbed and partially undressed on a dump in Eldorado Park last week.
Deyondre Jones Pienaar is her six-month-old son with boyfriend Romeo Roberts, who, in a painfully ironic twist, was in jail for beating Christell when her body was discovered. He was released from jail on Tuesday.
“I was smacking her so she (opened) a case against me,” Romeo said outside the Old Apostolic Church, where the service was held.
Pienaar’s brother, Charles “Seuntjie” Minnie, arrived at the church moments before the service began under the guard of prison wardens. He was released from Heidelberg prison for his sister’s funeral. Minnie is serving five years for assaulting the mother of his child, according to Roberts.
Before the service, Roberts sat on the pavement outside Pienaar’s family home, cradling his son while his cousins, Leeann Roberts and Cecilia Davis, stood beside him. Deyondre is the only child Pienaar and Roberts had together.
Pienaar was separated from her husband for three years and had been in a relationship with Roberts for more than two years.
“As we all know there are all different types of abuse, and coloured women specifically like to keep it under wraps. They never report it,” said Shantel Sinclair, a member of Addicted 4 Change, a youth anti-drug project.
The family did not wish to speak to the media as they were upset about how Pienaar was portrayed in an article published just after her death. The article portrayed her in a negative light, said Charis Pretorius, marketing and communications manager for the local drug watch committee, who was put in charge of media liaison.
Pienaar was 30 years old and had five children – Tyrell Minnie, 11, Beyondre Pienaar, 9, Latrelle Minnie, 7, Michaela Pienaar, 2 and 6-month-old Deyondre Roberts.
Friends of Christell said they were distressed by the death not only due to the loss, but because Pienaar allegedly knew and trusted the perpetrators.
“The thing that’s so painful, these guys that did this, she grew up in front of them, like brothers and sisters, like family,” said Leeann.
“Since this happened, I’m afraid to walk in the streets at night,” said relative Wasila Roberts.
According to Pretorius, after the funeral a man admitted to having witnessed the murderers leaving the scene of the crime. He also implicated a young woman in the murder, and the residents grew angry and violent.
The police arrived and the woman was removed from the area and taken to the Eldorado Park police station.
Police spokesman Warrant Officer Kay Makhubela said only one person had been arrested in connection with the murder and that several others had been taken in just for questioning.