Dad admits he punched boy

2014-05-31 00:00

“I PUNCHED my son between the eyes.”

That was the admission the alleged “monster of Springs” made this week to family who visited him in prison.

His relatives, from the Free State town of Warden, visited the 36-year-old at Modderbee prison where he has been in custody since his arrest for allegedly imprisoning and torturing his five children and wife for years.

He told his relatives he hit his 11-year-old son because the child lost the electronic key to his vehicle, valued at R8 000.

After the beating, the boy fled to neighbours, who called the police, but also the father.

The search for the child, who had by then been hidden, uncovered the so-called house of horrors in an upmarket area of Springs on the East Rand.

“He said he hit him between the eyes with his fist. No, he knows it was wrong. He was angry. The boy ignored his order to look for the key and went to watch TV,” said a family member, whose name is known to sister paper Volksblad, but is withheld to protect the identity of the child victims, aged from 16 to two.

The relative’s 19-year-old grandchild lived with the family in Springs and worked for the man.

The family say the image of the man as a monster is very biased and the reality of the situation is more complex.

They said the man’s wife is addicted to the drug Cat. She doesn’t sleep for long periods, they said. The man would come home in the afternoons to be greeted by her demanding that he give the children hidings.

The man admits he has also used drugs, but claims he has recently been trying to get his wife into rehab. He gave her “everything” she wanted and she was free to come and go as she pleased, his relatives said.

The couple met at a reform school when they were 14. He came from a violent family full of alcohol abuse, and her mother had given her up to her aunt when she was little, they said.

Both had serious learning difficulties.

Their eldest child, a girl of 16, also had learning difficulties and her father took her out of school. She then had to look after her four younger siblings and do housework.

“[The man] cried in jail over the allegations that he is a monster. He knows he was wrong. They are two people who came from difficult circumstances. She was his queen, from when they were young. The last year she got anything she wanted and could go wherever she wanted,” his relatives said.

The man said his wife “knew how to push his buttons” to make him angry.

He knew of at least eight men she had had affairs with, they claimed. He is worried she now has access to his money and can buy drugs.

“She can’t work. He promised to look after her. He loves her and the children.

“He’s got a problem with his temper, yes. My granddaughter saw how he hit the children. Once he broke off a tree branch to hit them with. But he didn’t lock them up. They played in the garden and swam in the pool …” said the relative.

Following police allegations that the 16-year-old is no longer a virgin, which led to speculation that her father molested her and that the two-year-old is actually her child, the family said this was “nonsense” and that they had been aware of the mother’s most recent pregnancy.

They said the girl is not sexually active and loves her father.

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