- Four Cape Town men will spend a long time in jail for the murders of a grandad, his 4-year-old granddaughter and a witness to the shooting.
- They were found to have aided the criminal activities of the Ama Don't Care gang in Uitsig.
- Evidence was led that the murders were linked to gang restructuring in the area, and the grandfather had refused to join them.
Four Cape Town men who ran with the "Ama don't Care" gang were handed hefty sentences for the murder of a man who wouldn't pay extortion money, his four-year-old granddaughter playing near him, and a woman who saw it all.
"This case once again illustrated the scourge of gang activity, which usually takes the form of violent and murderous conduct which negatively affects our society, especially on the Cape Flats," said Judge Robert Henney, who sentenced them on Thursday.
National Prosecuting Authority spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said one of the killers was only 16 at the time of the murders of Christopher Cornelius, his granddaughter Likeshia Joubert, and Glenda Ruiters, who happened to see one of the killers running past her house.
Now 20, that accused was convicted with Mahlubandile "Hlubi" Jacobs, Moegamat "Gamie" Swarts and Vincent "Skelato" Davids.
The then-16-year-old was sentenced to 20 years for each murder, seven years for aiding and abetting gang crime, and five years for illegally possessing a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
Because of his age at the time of the crime, he benefits from the Child Justice Act, and his sentences will run concurrently. If he does not get parole, he will only be out when he turns 40.
Jacobs was sentenced to 10 years' direct imprisonment for aiding gang crime, life imprisonment for the premeditated murder of Cornelius, Joubert and Ruiters, and 22 years' imprisonment for the illegal possession of firearms and unlawful possession of ammunition.
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Swarts was sentenced to 25 years direct imprisonment for the murder of Ruiters, 10 years for the attempted murder of her daughter, and eight years for illegal possession of firearms and unlawful possession of ammunition. The sentence will run concurrently as 25 years.
Ntabazalila said gang leader Davids got 10 years for aiding gang crime, life imprisonment for the murder of Ruiters, and 12 years for the illegal possession of firearms and unlawful possession of ammunition.
All are now also declared unfit to possess a firearm.
During the trial, the court heard that before the murders, there was a reconfiguration of gangs in the area, with the Ama Don't Care trying to take over the territory of the G-Unit when their leader was murdered.
They were absorbing gangsters and tried to get Cornelius to join them. Apparently, the grandfather was not interested.
On 25 March 2019, the then-16-year-old and others demanded money from Cornelius, but he refused.
They warned him he would be killed if he didn't pay up. They returned the following day, and he still refused to pay. They left, but then Jacobs returned and shot Cornelius in the head and abdomen. He died on the scene.
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His 4-year-old granddaughter was shot in the chest and died on her way to the hospital.
The two men ran away from the scene and swapped clothes with someone else to disguise their involvement.
Ruiters happened to see what happened and was extremely worried about her safety because of that.
On 7 April 2019, she opened the front door and was shot at point-blank range by Davids, who was with Swarts. Swarts shot at Ruiters' daughter but missed as she bent down to help her mother.
Swarts called Ruiters "Auntie Glenda" during the trial, and told of an incident where he kicked her daughter off the roof one day because she was refusing to listen to her mother and come down.
The prosecutor argued for long-term sentences, telling Henney that the province was under siege and that this gang ensured compliance by "advertising their violence".
The Director of Public Prosecutions in the Western Cape, advocate Nicolette Bell, applauded the investigating and prosecution teams, who worked tirelessly and under trying times to ensure justice for the victims of these crimes.