Double disappointment for Rafique Hardien’s grieving family as uncle’s 2002 murder remains unsolved
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Cape Town - A month after top police officials met the family of murdered 5-year-old Rafique Hardien, they have been left with more questions and have no closure after his uncle was shot and killed nearly 20 years ago.
After the Weekend Argus published the cold case of Rafique last month, senior police officials met Shaakierah Hardien and another relative.
Shaakierah is a police officer and, bound by the Code of Conduct of the South African Police, she is not able to comment publicly.
The family revealed the docket related to Rafique could not be located for their meeting and they had asked the police why they had not been informed that it had been changed from an inquest into a murder and waited 17 years.
They also queried police about the murder of Hardien’s biological brother, Alfonso Deon Walduck who was shot in the head inside a car while with a friend along Wespoort Drive in Mitchells Plain in April 2002.
And just like Rafique’s case, the investigation into Walduck’s death was forgotten and cold.
Last month, police confirmed that a murder case was under investigation.
The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) said they had exhausted all avenues in an attempt to prosecute convicted rapist and killer Richard Junior Engelbrecht, who is serving three life terms for killing his former girlfriend’s daughter, Annestacia Wiese, 11, in 2007, in Woodlands.
Rafique had been playing at the next-door neighbour’s home in Portland when he vanished and a search began for him on August 11, 2004.
Engelbrecht had been the family’s neighbour.
Seventeen days later, on August 28, Rafique’s decomposed body was found at a swimming pool in Westridge, Mitchells Plain.
A formal inquest was conducted into Rafique’s death and the evidence led by neighbours and family members was inconclusive.
The NPA decided it was too risky to attempt prosecution because Engelbrecht did not confess to Rafique’s murder but claimed a coffee table had fallen on the child while he had been inside another room at the residence in Portland.
Now a month after the meeting, which the family claimed had been called to reset the investigation, they have been left out of the loop.
Raifque’s eldest brother, Ridaa, who was eight at the time of the murder, said they were calling for a new team to take over the case.
“We have no faith in the current team, we have no trust anymore,” said Ridaa.
“The police have indicated in the past they cannot charge the person of interest. But as Engelbrecht said in his so-called statement, he heard a commotion and found my brother after a coffee table had fallen on top of him.
“Who gave him the right to remove or move the body? Was he a medical expert, why didn't he contact an ambulance if it was a so-called accident?
“We have so many questions as a family. Was my brother raped, did they take samples after finding the body partially dressed? Where is the docket?”
The new investigation has plunged the family back to 2002, when Shaakierah’s brother was murdered after leaving the family home in Portland.
The family claim despite gun residue found on a male acquaintance of Walduck, he was not charged or arrested. They were keen to find out what had happened with the case.
Walduck left his home and the family received a call that he had been shot. He was placed on life support but did not survive.
Ridaa had been retold the story by family.
“My grandmother got a phone call to say my uncle had been shot and a friend had been at the back of the car and it was claimed he had climbed out of the back of the car.
“This person was taken in for questioning and apparently gun powder residue was found on his hands and our question as family is why was he not arrested.
“Two cases of our family, a brother and an uncle not solved by the police.”
Police spokesperson Captain FC Van Wyk said Rafique’s case had been archived pending new evidence and did not respond to queries regarding the meeting held with family last month.
“The case is currently placed in archives.
“Anyone with new evidence is encouraged to share with Mitchells Plain Police or alternatively share with Crime Stop on 08600 10111, after which the case can be reopened for further investigation,” he said.
Van Wyk said they were unable to furnish the Weekend Argus with any information on Walduck’s case as they needed a case number for the 19-year-old case.
“In the case of Alfonso Deon Walduck, kindly ask your source to furnish us with more information (case number to verify this incident) to respond to you in detail.”
The Weekend Argus also contacted the communications team at Mitchell’s Plain police station who said they needed until Monday to verify and determine what had happened and were unable to check on their police systems without the case number, despite being furnished with the deceased’s identity number, home address, date of death and his full name.
The Hardien family’s woes don’t end there – they have been waiting for 17 years for a house from the City of Cape Town after being on the housing list since 2004.
The family has since moved 16 times.
“At the moment we are sleeping in a separate entrance that is leaking.
“Our family has been through so much and all that we desire is a place we can call home because so many promises have been made in the past,” said Ridaa.
Malusi Booi, mayoral committee member for human settlements, said there was a process and Shaakierah Hardien’s application for a house was pending for the next phase of housing in Beacon Valley.
“The City of Cape Town confirms that Shaakierah Hardien’s status on the City’s Housing Needs Register is pending for the possible consideration of the Beacon Valley Breaking New Ground (BNG) housing project in Mitchells Plain.
“According to the City’s records, the applicant registered on the Housing Needs Register in 2004. Should Ms Hardien’s application be considered for the Beacon Valley project, she would need to qualify for the BNG subsidy criteria.
“City officials will make contact with the applicants, should their applications be successful,” said Booi.