Western Cape / 10 January 2020, 4:25pm / Monique Duval/Daily Voice
Cape Town - “Dankie Here! Nou is ons vry!” (Thank God! We are free now!)
After years of living in fear of being murdered on the streets of Manenberg, the family of Chantelle Knight, whose testimony put Hard Livings gang boss Rashied Staggie behind bars, said they can finally live in peace.
Speaking for the first time since Staggie was gunned down outside his Salt River home on December 13, Knight’s mother, Hazel Jacobus, 62, told the Daily Voice in an exclusive interview that her family can finally walk freely in their community.
The sad mother and grandmother said she misses her daughter who is still in an undisclosed place of safety after being shot and injured in a suspected retaliation attack a few years ago.
Knight, a police informant, testified that Staggie took her to an isolated spot in August 2001 when she was just 17 years old and forced her, at gunpoint, to have sex with three men.
Jacobus said she will never forget the day Knight was raped as she had left home dressed in a green dress and boots to start her new job as a domestic worker.
“She looked so stunning but then she never came home,” said the mother.
“My God, the next day we just saw police cars and here the knock comes. I looked at her and she started crying and I knew something was wrong. I scolded her, I told her she is sleg (slutty) because I thought she went with a man. Then the police came in and told me.
“She told me that she was standing by Olga Court and there was a car and Staggie told her to get in and he said to her: ‘You mos piemped, you piemped our guns’.” (You ratted us out. You told them where our guns were.)
In 2003, Staggie was sentenced to 15 year to jail for ordering the gang rape and kidnapping.
In 2004, he was convicted of burglary from the Faure police armoury and sentenced to 13 years in prison. The sentences ran concurrently and Staggie was released in September 2013.
Jacobus said this was the day their lives changed forever.
Two months earlier, in July 2013, the then 28-year-old and mother of six, Knight, was shot three times in an alleged revenge attack by the Hard Livings.
“We were all living in fear, after they took us out of Manenberg we had to come back but Knight never came back,” said Jacobus.
“Our lives changed. My children have lived for years fearing the HLs because they have threatened us.”
She said when she heard the news that Staggie had been killed, she felt only relief.
“I was shocked and the words just came out, ‘Dankie Here! Nou is ons vry!” (Thank God! We are free now!)'
“Because we were frightened all these years; in my mind I thought one day, any time, any one of us can be killed.
“I wasn’t glad to hear he is dead. That part where I was so scared for me and my family, that part is gone now and I hope God will protect us further.”
Commenting on his fancy funeral which was broadcast on TV and online, Jacobus said she thought: “That won’t get him into heaven”.