File picture: Independent Media

Johannesburg - Joburg residents have described to The Star the shocking behaviour of a man who is accused of beating his son to death.

Community members of Chrisville, in Booysens, on Monday came in their droves to the bail hearing of 25-year-old Sexias Boesak at the Johannesburg Magistrate’s Court.

Boesak was denied bail, with the community demanding a stiff sentence for the man they said had a history of beating up five-year-old Caleb Ouman.

Lily Wilson, Boesak's sister, confirmed that her brother had a previous case of child abuse opened against him.

“I don’t condone what my brother did - and none of us were there when it happened," she said.

"The little boy was taken from his grandmother’s house to bond with her father, as per his girlfriend’s request. The boy had stayed there for three weeks before this incident.”

Wilson said little Caleb had been beaten around 9am on Friday, before being given some Panados to “recover”.

The family are still awaiting the post-mortem results, but believe he died from internal bleeding.

“We are not taking this well at all because it is our child and brother," Wilson said.

"We just didn’t think Sexias could take it this far.”

DA ward councillor Rashieda Landis said that while the court proceedings were under way, the boy’s mother arrived in Joburg to identify her son's body.

Boesak was jailed in December for beating up Caleb, but, said Landis, he was released unexpectedly in May.

Landis added that after Boesak's arrest, she had been under the impression that the situation was under control.

Later she found out that Boesak had been released under unknown circumstances.

It was believed that Caleb had lived with his paternal grandmother in Chrisville and that his mother had been unaware of what was going on because she was living in Bloemfontein.

A community member, Antonio Martins, whose son used to play with Caleb, said they couldn't work out what had gone so terribly wrong in the Boesak household.

“He was a quiet, withdrawn, little soul," Martins said of Caleb.

"He hardly said much. I remember telling my son to come and sit with him in our house and offer him juice or biscuits, but all he said was, 'no, he doesn’t want'.

"I suspect that he was afraid of the father.”

Martins told The Star that Boesak was a suspected drug user and flitted from job to job. Members of the community confirmed Boesak lived with his girlfriend and their three-year-old daughter.

Landis described the day of the little boy’s death as a horrific tragedy.

“I got there and found the little boy blue, and battered on his entire body."

"There were cigarette burns on his entire abdominal area," she said.

"I covered him with my jacket so that nobody could see."

"When I got there, Sexias told me that the boy was sick, and later changed his story, saying he had fallen down the stairs.

"It was a few minutes later when his three-year-old daughter confirmed that it was the father who had manhandled the little boy - the little girl basically witnessed the murder of her brother,” said Landis.

She said that before Caleb was driven to hospital by his grandmother, Boesak had tried to run away but was stopped by neighbours, who restrained him until the police arrived.

A memorial service for the child will take place on Wednesday before the body is taken to Welkom for burial.

The Star