Denzil Jafta hangs up a T-shirt with the face of his dead son Dean at his home in Eersterust. The family only learnt this week that Dean was found dead after his disappearance last year and then buried as an unknown person. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency (ANA)
Pretoria - After desperately looking for missing Dean Jafta for a year and five months, his Eersterust family will have to wait a few more weeks to receive his remains and hopefully find closure.

The 20-year-old went missing on May 20 last year, and according to his father, a criminal syndicate abducted his son. He was apparently on his way to meet a friend when he disappeared.

His car was found at a townhouse in Clarina near Akasia two days after his disappearance.

As the mystery of his disappearance deepened, the family learnt this week during a visit by MEC for Community Safety Sizakele Nkosi-Malobane that the police had found the body last year.

The MEC told them the body was found in Blue Hills, Midrand, a week after he went missing.

According to reports, he was shot dead, then buried. After being found, his remains were transferred to the Hillbrow mortuary and later buried as an unknown person.

The process of connecting an unknown body with the missing person file was apparently never followed at that time.

Sergeant Sam Shibambo of the Eersterust police station said an application to exhume the remains had already been filed with a magistrate.

Thereafter police would inform the family as to when they would receive his mortal remains. However, Shibambo did say a breakthrough had been made, but would divulge no further information.

He said the commissioner of crime detection, Major-General Mary Motsepe, had already launched an investigation into the matter. “Police have made breakthroughs, but we can’t give much more information.”

After the exhumation process, DNA tests would be conducted and they would confirm whether the remains were indeed those of the son.

The dead man’s father, Denzil, has already identified his son’s face from a photo at the police station.

“My poor son was badly beaten up. His face was a pulp and swollen, but I could still identify him,” Jafta said at the family home. Police were reluctant from the onset to help with his son's case, he said.

“We were let down by the authorities from the word go, and now they have buried him as a “nobody. Heads must roll at the police”, he said.

Nkosi-Malobane said it was a case of negligence and both the Midrand and Eersterust investigating officers would face disciplinary action after internal investigations.

On Thursday, Jafta said they had yet to receive closure. Instead, they had more questions.

“There are too many loopholes as to why the police didn’t prioritise this case.

"We even tried to assist where we could, but they were having none of that,” he said angrily.

He insinuated that foul play from the police had a hand in his son’s death, but was reluctant to go into details. “The state knows what it did to my son. I hope justice will be served.”

The last conversation he had had with his son was about money that he had to pay him for cleaning the yard and washing his car, he said.

His mother Christa struggled to fight back tears as she recalled their last conversation. “He wanted to visit his best friend in Durban, and then relocate to Cape Town because Eersterust was not conducive to him. That was the last I heard of my son."

Dean was the middle sibling of three children. His older and younger sisters told the Pretoria News how they would have sibling fights, but made up immediately afterwards. The eldest, Michelle, described her brother as a loving, clean freak who was particular and calculative in everything he did. “Justice must be served and closure must be received by us. We see his sneakers and cologne and immediately cry. He is everywhere in the house,” she said.

Younger sister Candice is writing her final matric exams. She described the ordeal as stressful. “I think about him daily at times during studying.”

Four men have since been arrested in connection with Dean's murder.

Pretoria News