- Doukoucia Kounkou Dziendelet was cross-examined in his son's murder trial on Wednesday.
- The couple lost custody of their three sons two months before the toddler was killed.
- Melvin Volkwyn pleaded not guilty, maintaining that he gave the baby back to his mother.
Had his partner been a good parent to Orderick Lucas, they would not have lost custody of their toddler and his twin brothers, Doukoucia Kounkou Dziendelet testified in the Western Cape High Court on Wednesday.
"What can I say? Had she been taking good care of the children, Orderick's arm would not have been broken," he said during cross-examination.
The little boy's broken limb was the final straw, which saw Davedine Lucas lose custody of Orderick and his twin brothers.
She claimed that she had gone to buy drugs and left her son with Melvin Volkwyn.
Volkwyn, in turn, claimed Davedine had told him she had accidentally broken the boy's arm when she had yanked it while picking him up.
Two months after being put in the primary care of the grandmother, Cornelia Scheepers, the toddler was dead.
Volkwyn, Davidene's friend with whom she used to smoke drugs, is accused of Orderick's murder.
He had gone missing on Sunday, 24 March 2019. His body was found in a stormwater drain on 2 April by a group of children trying to retrieve their ball from a drain in Wittebol Street, Melton Rose. His grandmother lived mere metres away.
The one-year-old was only reported missing on the Thursday.
Dziendelet testified that Volkwyn had told him, on the Monday, the child was with him.
"I swear, I swear, I swear," he told the court, raising his right hand. "When I asked Mel where is Orderick, he said he is with him, at his place."
Davedine had testified that Volkwyn assured her, on the Monday, he had dropped her son at Scheepers' home.
When she arrived there three days later, Scheepers said Orderick had never been brought to her.
Davedine denies getting Orderick back from Volkwyn, or giving him permission to retrieve the child from the friend she had left him with on the Sunday.
Dziendelet testified that his son was a healthy child.
This, however, did not correspond with his hospital and medical records, which showed that the one-year-old suffered from malnutrition, sores and ulcers, defence advocate Susan Kuun pointed out.
She accused him of being dishonest, saying that his children did not even eat enough.
He responded that he worked during the day and that their home didn't have a fridge.
"But what I used to do every morning was make sure there is porridge for the children and food to eat during the day. When I come back from work, I would come with food to eat that evening and some to be left for tomorrow."
She also asked if Dziendelet was aware that Davedine would blow Mandrax smoke into their son's face. According to her, "it will help him go to sleep".
Dziendelet denied any knowledge of this.
Kuun had maintained that he must have known of other instances where Davedine had not acted responsibly with her son.
Dziendelet said he had heard the child was burnt with "something that they use to smoke their stuff", but he did not elaborate.
The couple have been together for 12 years. He claimed to not have known of his partner's drug use.
"I used to ask her if she takes drugs; she would say no. Then I stopped asking."
He said only when the social workers became involved, after Orderick's arm was broken, did a drug test confirm she had tested positive for Mandrax.
"She swore to me she will never do it again."
Dziendelet said while his three sons were in the custody of Davedine's mother, he still paid for their upkeep, giving Scheepers R450 per week.
He said he had once been short of the full amount as he had to pay his rent.
She did not want to take the children, Dziendelet testified.
He had reported this to social services, who accompanied him to collect the children and return them to Scheepers.
"When we got there, they tried to explain to her that things can't happen like that. The [social worker] begged her to take the money, but at first she refused. She eventually agreed, but told me that when I get money, I must pay the rest."
The trial continues on Thursday.
Volkwyn has pleaded not guilty, maintaining that he gave the baby back to Davedine. He denies killing the child.
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