Slain Bredasdorp teen’s sister speaks

By Natasha Prince Time of article published Jun 9, 2015

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Bredasdorp - Eva Jaftha tried in vain to discourage her teenage daughter from running off to stay with a man 14 years her senior. Despite her efforts, 15-year-old Elda Jaftha was found dead beneath a bed in a shack last week – the shack of a man who she allegedly had a relationship with, and with whom she had lived.

Gift Sobanda, 29, was arrested for her murder last Sunday and made his first appearance in court last Tuesday.

Defending her mother, Elda’s older sister Sylvia, 24, said their mother had attempted to talk to Elda on several occasions and had done her best to discourage her from continually returning to live with a man much older than her.

Sylvia and her mother were at Bredasdorp Magistrate’s Court on Monday for the appearance of the man arrested in connection with Elda’s death.

Sylvia spoke on behalf of her family as their mother was too distraught.

“My mother spoke to Elda, she didn’t want to listen.”

She said being in court was an emotional experience for the family.

“I can’t tell you how I feel, it hurts to see him,” she said, adding that they were grateful for all the support.

In two years, Bredasdorp has been rocked by violent attacks against young women.

A few months back the body of a five-year-old girl, Kayde Williams had been found dumped in the bushes – on the same day Bredasdorp residents commemorated the death of 17-year-old Anene Booysen.

Anene was murdered in 2013 – in a brutal attack, in which she was raped and mutilated. The report rocked the town and made national headlines.

Kayde was killed in February. She was beaten with a blunt object while Nicholas Kobus, a suspect in the case, hanged himself a week later.

A community worker for more than 12 years, Lana O’Niell from the NGO Heavenly Promises, has been supporting the Jaftha family. She said that attention was only given to the situation in Bredasdorp when “something major happens”.

She said that more sustainable projects needed to be introduced.

“They introduce a parenting programme and it lasts a week or two,” she said.

Theo Olivier, a member of the provincial legislature in the constituency, said that after the previous murders there had been awareness campaigns but that more needed to be done. Olivier said there had recently been talks of having street committees more actively involved.

“But not much has been done,” Olivier said, adding that communities needed to raise the alarm. “There has not been specific interventions… there needs to be a realisation of these street committees,” he said.

Mayoral committee member for the Cape Agulhas area, Raymond Mokotwana, said there were issues that stemmed from the lack of jobs and poverty, and maintained that there was a social ill in the community. Mokotwana said that since Anene’s death, not much had changed.

However, he was optimistic about the impending launch of the Anene Booysen skills centre that would open its doors once the roof construction was complete. He said social services needed to come on board, with social workers employed at schools in the area to determine what the main problems were.

“We need to determine, what made her leave school in the first place.”

He said it was no secret that Elda had been living with Sobanda.

“We’re not saying the mother never took that caution… but we’re saying the law should play a role.”

The support for Elda’s family outside court where Sobanda’s bail application was being heard was immense on Monday morning.

Before the matter got under way, a group had gathered on the steps of the court making announcements, singing and chanting. Some waved posters that read: “Swaar straf vir kindermoord” (harsh sentences for child murders); “Enough is enough” and “Killers: No Bail – Keep in jail.” A number of police and law enforcement officers monitored the group closely.

Nona Swartbooi, a co-ordinator of the ANC Women’s League in the Overberg, said their members were at court because they were dealing with a human rights issue.

“It’s not just about this case – it’s about the abuse of women and children in general – it’s a human rights issue,” she said.

Swartbooi said it was an issue that cut across race, culture, and did not have a nationality. “It’s all across the world.

“We are here today to say to the magistrate it’s one too many cases in Bredasdorp. We’re saying harsher sentences should be passed.”

During proceedings, Sobanda’s lawyer, Legal Aid attorney Dwayne Spandiel, told the Bredasdorp Magistrate’s court his client was abandoning his bail application. He said he had been threatened while in custody.

State prosecutor Felicity Treu asked that the matter be postponed as investigations were not yet complete. She said the post-mortem report, DNA results and State witness statements were outstanding.

Spandiel told the court that he had approached the State to ask that his client be held in a single cell. “His life’s in danger,” said Spandiel, adding that Sobanda had received threats from other prisoners from the Bredasdorp area.

But Magistrate Andre Maqubu said that what the defence was requesting was “tantamount to giving him special treatment”, adding that the defence would have to go through correctional services.

Murmurs from the gallery showed the approval and support of the comments by Maqubu.

Sobanda, who was remanded, was arrested last Sunday after Elda’s body was found bundled in a blanket beneath a bed.

The magistrate postponed the matter to August 12.

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Cape Argus

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