Thank God it's over, says Sizzlers witness
He had been working at Sizzlers for two weeks when his throat was slashed and he was shot twice in the head during an attack that left nine men dead.
Now former masseur 26-year-old Quinton Taylor - left deaf in one ear as a result of his injuries - says his harrowing life-and-death experience happened "for a reason".
"I appreciate life and who I am so much more. I have realised I have so much that I want to do with my life," he told the Cape Argus on Tuesday.
Taylor signed himself out of the witness protection programme on Monday evening, after he testified against Sizzlers accused Adam Woest and Trevor Theys in the Cape High Court.
He was escorted to and from court by half a dozen plain clothes police officers and guarded by a police official armed with a rifle during his evidence.
Wearing a hooded top and accompanied by his father, Chris Taylor, who adopted him when he was 14, Taylor listened as advocate Anthony Stephen closed the State's case against Woest and Theys.
After leaving court, Taylor told journalists it was "stunning" to no longer be in the witness protection programme, where he has been under constant police protection for the past year and was ordered not to see any friends or family.
He said the love of his family had been an enormous source of support to him during the aftermath of the attack.
"It's been heavy having my life put on hold and it's been a tense year. Thank God it's over," he said.
Asked why he had chosen to brave the media and face potentially difficult questions about his work at Sizzlers, Taylor - who described himself as a "spiritualist" - said he had "nothing to hide".
"I didn't do anything wrong, none of those guys did."
"Most people misinterpret why guys get involved in the industry. None of the boys do it for fun and most of them are actually straight.
"There were other guys like me working there as well. Sergio was trying to pay off a computer course and the 17-year-old boy Stephanus Fouché was also saving for a course that he wanted to do.
"It was the first time I ever did anything like that and I did it because I desperately needed to earn money. Yes, maybe it was a mistake to work there - but I paid for that mistake. We all did."
Asked how he felt towards those responsible for the attack, Taylor said he harboured no hate towards them. "I don't hate them. It's too much of a mission to hate people. You only damage yourself."