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‘I know he took her’

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The girl’s body was fastened to a stone, to prevent it from floating to the surface, and was only retrieved five days later

A DELPORTSHOOP mother had to relive the terrifying moments, when she last saw one of her twins alive, before the body of the 23-month-old toddler was later discovered in the Vaal River near Rooikoppies in April last year.

The girl’s body was fastened to a stone, to prevent it from floating to the surface, and was only retrieved five days later.

The accused, Johannes Moroe, pleaded not guilty to all charges in the Northern Cape High Court yesterday, including kidnapping, murdering and raping the toddler, inserting a sharp, unknown object into her private parts and concealing her body.

The State alleges that the toddler was stabbed with a knife before she was drowned.

Moroe was also charged with housebreaking, assault, domestic violence and attempted rape.

The toddler’s mother, Anna Anowar, told the court that Moroe was the last person to be seen with her child on April 20, 2019.

Anowar added that her sister, Christine Springbok, used to date Moroe, although she had obtained a protection order against him after he had assaulted her.

She said that she went to bed on the night of the incident with the deceased (Kutlwano Springbok) asleep on her bed, while her twin, Kutlo Springbok, slept in front of her bed along with her other two children Khuzaifa, 10, and Dulla Mohomed, 7.

“I shut all the windows and locked all the doors before retiring for the night. Late that evening, I noticed that the kitchen light was switched off. I did not think that it was unusual, as the electricity often trips when it rains. I heard footsteps but thought it was one of the children who had woken up to go to the bathroom.

“A short while later, I felt a knife pressed against my neck. I tried to pull myself up but the person pushed me down on the bed. Later on I managed to push him away although he was still holding onto my hand tightly.”

She added that she recognised Moroe and asked him how he gained entry into the house and what he was doing there.

Anowar believed that Moroe had gained access through a window in the bedroom that her sister slept in whenever she visited her.

She stated that Moroe swore at her and accused her of hiding her sister from him.

“At the entrance of the bedroom I resisted and screamed as loudly as I could. The knife was still pressed against my neck. Khuzaifa woke up and ran into the street, screaming for help, but nobody heard him. He came back home and tried to pull a knife out of the drawer.”

Anowar said that Moroe loosened his grip when she told him to leave her.

“I used all my strength to break free because he was trying to undress me. Dullah also woke up and we ran into the street, along with Khuzaifa. I was screaming my lungs out but none of the neighbours heard me.”

Anowar stated that she ran to her aunt’s house so that she could call the police. “When I turned around, I saw the accused watching us from the front porch.”

She added that the police had to make use of a torch when they entered the house.

“I told the police that the accused must have taken the (light) globe off as I noticed that it had been placed on a shelf. After the globe was replaced we went into my bedroom and I saw that Kutlwano was missing from the bed.

“I told the police that the accused must have taken Kutlwano because it was only Kutlo who was lying on the floor.”

Anowar added that the police searched for Moroe and when they brought him to the police station, she asked him to tell her where he had left her child.

“I said to Tompie (the accused), even if you killed the child just point out her body because I saw him taking her. He was the last person to be seen with her. Even if I was drunk, I would have known it was him.

“Tompie denied three times that he had taken the child and insisted that he had never been to my house and did not know what I was talking about. I told the police to lock him up until my child was found.”

She said that both she and the twins’ father were unable to sleep that night.

“The following day, I asked my neighbour to help me to look for Kutlwano in the veld and in the river. The next day the investigators arrived and found a pair of trousers lying along the river bank. I recognised them as the pants that my child was wearing the previous night.

“More police officers were called in to assist and the community also joined the search for the next two days. On the third day, they found her body in the river.”

Acting Judge Stanton postponed the case until today.

The State advocate is Keageletse Ilanga and the legal representative for the accused is advocate Dirk van Tonder from Legal Aid South Africa.