Marlene Visser holds the picture of her son, Warren Visser who was murdered during the Sizzlers massacre. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)
Marlene Visser holds the picture of her son, Warren Visser who was murdered during the Sizzlers massacre. Picture: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Sizzlers victim’s mom pleads with president not to release killer or face another massacre

By Genevieve Serra Time of article published Jun 5, 2021

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Cape Town - The mother of Sizzlers victim Warren Visser has opened up about her investigation into the case including her visit to the killers inside prison and her journey to forgiveness.

She made a plea to President Cyril Ramaphosa and Minister of Justice Ronald Lamola, begging them not to grant the release of Adam Woest or face another massacre.

Adam Woest, together with Trevor Theys, were convicted and sentenced for nine murders, and other serious charges at a gay massage parlour in Sea Point.

The Weekend Argus has since learnt that Theys died in 2008 while in prison due to health issues.

The two were convicted of nine counts of murder, attempted murder, robbery, and the possession of ammunition.

They had tied up 10 men, shot them, and slit their throats.

The victims were Warren Visser, Aubrey Otgaar, Sergio de Castro, Stephanus Fouche, Johan Meyer, Gregory Berghau, Travis Reade, Timothy Boyd and Marius Meyer.

Octgaar was the owner of the parlour.

The motive behind the killings is believed to be a botched robbery, but it remains a mystery.

Just last week, Marlene Visser emailed the presidency’s office for the third time, pleading with them not to release Woest, and gave the Weekend Argus with a copy of the letter.

In the letter, Visser appealed to Ramaphosa not to allow Woest to be granted early parole, asking why he would release a mass murderer?

“The presiding judge described the Sizzlers Massacre as the worst massacre that South Africa has ever seen,” she wrote.

Sizzlers murderer, Adam Woest led by cops during his court case. Picture: African News Agency (ANA) Archives

“By Adam Woest being released on early parole, who knows if his next violent crime won’t end up being another massacre… Perhaps even worse than the Sizzlers Massacre?

“Whether he eliminates one life, or scores of lives… our lives matter – each and every single life matters.

“Our legal system is supposed to protect us from crime, not expose us to it.

“Unlike you, we don’t have bodyguards to protect us and our families.”

“Adam Woest plundered, and massacred 10 (sic) innocent victims (that we know of) while he had a job.

“Imagine how desperate he will be once he is released back into society, and he can’t find a decent job due to his criminal record?

“Would you hire a mass murderer?

“Why should innocent people die so that Woest can live?”

The petition drawn up by Visser’s daughter, Leigh Visser, has since reached close onto 8 500 people.

Leigh spoke of her pain and plea a week ago in the Weekend Argus.

Warren Visser as a child. Picture: Supplied

Last week, Department of Correctional Services spokesperson, Singabako Nxumalo said Woest was serving nine life sentences, and that he was convicted and sentenced in 2004, and was eligible for parole in March 2016 but did not meet the requirements.

The sole survivor, Quinton Taylor, miraculously survived despite a bullet to the head.

He chose to remain silent about the parole but has signed the online petition.

Speaking from her home, Visser has a photograph of her son, Warren standing in her lounge.

Her son, who was 22 years old at the time of his death, was a computer engineer, creative, compassionate, and a gentle soul who came from a Christian home.

Marlene Visser. Picture: Supplied

In her bid to understand why a “monster” took away her son’s life in such a brutal way and to gain peace and forgiveness as a Christian, Visser visited Woest at Goodwood Prison shortly after his arrest.

She claimed the only prison official who seemed prepared to enter the cell with her where she met with Woest, was a Chaplain who was brave enough to accompany her.

Yet they want to release Woest back into society, she added during the interview.

“I shook Woest’s hand and it was limp. I told myself, ’I am shaking the hands of the man who tortured and brutally murdered my son’,” she said.

“He was a large, heavily-built man. He was like a zombie and spoke to me in the same tone of voice the whole time. He said ’I am sorry’, and I answered that life is not a big computer. You cannot edit and undo your mistakes. What’s done, is done.

“All the time I sat there, I felt uncomfortable, my heart broken, anger boiling deep within. The last person to see my son alive was this man. When I shook his hands, I felt God’s forgiveness come over me.

“It was like an enormous burden had been lifted off my shoulders. Yet I felt an incredible sadness for so many people suffering needlessly. I was different from the angry person who stepped inside the cell a while earlier.”

Visser said as she spoke to him she tried searching for some type of remorse.

“He didn’t say much but he came across as though he was the victim. This man tore 10 people apart.

“One thing that kept going through my mind was how much my son suffered, how much torture, pain and suffering 10 innocent victims had to go through.

“To get my answers, I went to the hospital mortuary, and I asked them for my son’s clothing that he had on when he was brought in.”

She said her son, died in hospital and not at the scene.

“The jacket, that I still have today, was torn, the neckline was full of blood, and his pants were soiled in fear.

“For 10 adults to have gone through so much pain, suffering, and trauma is horrendous… unimaginable.”

Visser visited the murder scene, the house where the tragedy happened before and after Woest and Theys were incarcerated.

She also encountered the two men watching her as she walked around Sizzlers looking for clues.

“The evidence I found inside the house later showed me what type of people these victims were.

“One of them was studying to become an attorney, some were mere children, ” she added.

“I saw Adam Woest peeping through his flat window at the time. Adam Woest and Trevor Theys walked past at one stage.

“As I looked at them it was as though God said to me that I should be taking photos of those men. They walked passed several times to see what I was looking for.

“I reached a point where I didn't care what happened to me. I needed answers.

“A few weeks later, one of the police officers informed me that they were incarcerated. All I wanted was my son’s boots which were covered in blood under the bed.

“There were games lying around like snakes and ladders, dominoes, it was covered in blood. There was blood splattered everywhere.

“In the far corner, there was a heap of something. As I walked closer I saw coagulated blood, like someone had overturned a bowl of jelly.

“I believe that was where Otgaar had been left to suffer and die in front of the other victims.

“There were bullet holes in the toilet door. The stench of petrol, blood, and death hung in the air.”

Visser was left with questions like why would her son, who came from a Christian home, go to a massage parlour?

“Warren never told me where he was going, he just snuck away quietly one day,” she added.

“He disappeared and he would only call me to tell me that he was okay. I knew something was up but I didn't know what it was.

“The worst thing is, at the time that my son was murdered, I just knew he was in trouble.

“You know, the bond a mother has with her children, I knew my son was dead.”

Visser visited Theys inside prison too, during her journey of forgiveness, and as in the case with Woest, she gave him another of Warren’s Bibles.

She learnt who Theys was.

He was a family man, who showed remorse.

They cried together and they prayed together when she visited him at times in the prison.

“I will never forget the sheer horror on Trevor Theys’ face when I first visited him in Helderstroom prison, and handed him Warren’s Bible with a photograph of him enclosed,” she added.

“Trevor jumped out of his chair in fear as I introduced myself, horror written all over his face as he looked down at the photo of Warren’s smiling face.

“At that very moment I could see Warren’s pain, suffering, and that of nine other victims… their torment of that night reflected in Trevor’s eyes.

“When he regained his composure, he spoke for the first time and said ’I know who your son was, he was the one praying when he was shot’.

“It was difficult to control my emotions but to get answers, I needed to gain his trust,” Visser said.

The petition can be found here:

Weekend Argus

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