The bereaved families of Danielskuil DA councillor Johannes Baatjies and his friend Shuping Jeffrey Nouse are still struggling to come to terms with their brutal murders.
THE BEREAVED families of Danielskuil DA councillor Johannes Baatjies and his friend Shuping Jeffrey Nouse are still struggling to come to terms with their brutal murders.
While a guilty verdict was handed down on all five of the accused on Tuesday, it has only brought a small measure of relief to the families.
During judgment on Tuesday, Northern Cape High Court Judge President Pule Tlaletsi noted that Baatjies was well loved in the community.
“Baatjies was a strong candidate for Ward 2. He was respected and well liked and the accused were aware that this could influence the outcome of the local government elections,” said Tlaletsi.
Baatjies was killed a day before he was to be sworn in as a councillor at Kgatelopele Municipality in August 2016.
Tlaletsi dismissed the claims made by the accused that the State and prosecution were “tarnishing the image and reputation of the ANC” when they pointed to the murder as being a political killing.
Dora Baatjies said on Tuesday that although three and a half years had passed since her husband’s murder, time had not healed the emotional wounds suffered by her family.
“The family is still struggling without him. I have not found peace yet, although I am happy about the judgment. It is only when the accused are behind bars for the rest of their lives, without the option of parole, that I will be able to relax. I still do not feel safe because I believe many other people must have been involved in the murder, who were never brought to book,” said Dora.
She added that during the trial she had never entertained the possibility that the accused would not be found guilty.
Nouse’s mother, Lebogang Nouse, said that while she was relieved upon hearing the judgment, it would not bring back her son.
“He was not only my son, he belonged to the entire Danielskuil community. Everyone loved him. I will never be able to forgive his killers for their cruel deeds … because he was an innocent bystander with no political affiliations. They tore a piece out of me, when they took my son away from me.”
She added that she remained with her son during the six days that he was hospitalised in the intensive care unit at Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe Hospital in Kimberley. “He came in and out of consciousness but was not able to speak. I told him that I would not leave the hospital without him. A tear rolled down his cheek when I encouraged him to fight and not give up.”
Lebogang indicated that following the death of her son, she has not been able to financially care for her grandson, who is disabled. “He is 14 years old and will have to grow up without a father.
“Since Shuping’s death, I have not been financially able to take care of my grandson and I had to send him to his mother. Shuping always made sure that I had food on the table and these days I go to bed hungry. He wanted to build a double-storey house for me as I live in an RDP house.”