Lost… and found dead

MEC tells des­per­ate Eer­sterust fam­ily their son, 20, was buried as an un­known per­son last year

Pretoria News - - FRONT PAGE - SAKHILE NDLAZI sakhile.ndlazi@inl.co.za

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.

Yes­ter­day, 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.

THOBILE MATHONSI African News Agency (ANA)

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. |

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