Murder-accused basketball coach was a 'gift' who had great work ethic, court hears

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The High Court heard that Marvin Minnaar was a gift.
The High Court heard that Marvin Minnaar was a gift.
Ashraf Hendricks
  • The basketball coach accused of the kidnapping, rape and murder of Hout Bay boy Sibusiso Dakuse was regarded as a "gift" to the club. 
  • He was admired for his work ethic and commitment to the club, the Western Cape High Court heard.
  • Sibusiso disappeared on 26 February 2020. It is alleged that he was spotted with a man who wore a basketball shirt that resembled the Hout Bay Snipers' kit.

The founding chairperson and lead coach of Hout Bay Snipers basketball club has described coach Marvin Minnaar, who is accused of the murder of Hout Bay boy Sibusiso Dakuse, as an enthusiastic contributor to the fledgling club.

"He was a gift," Bryn Mbulawa testified during the Western Cape High Court trial of the young protege who had moved up the club's ranks, from keen spectator to coach.

"As a coach, they (the players) listened to him," said Mbulawa. He admired the way Minnaar worked on improving himself as a young man.

He did not know much about his personal life, and was surprised to hear that Minnaar had also taken on the responsibility of making sure his sickly grandfather, who he lived with, took his asthma medication properly.

One of Minnaar's tasks as a volunteer was to collect the kit from the players, which was not easy, given the propensity for teenage players to misplace their kits or report that they had been stolen from the washing line. 

READ | Hout Bay basketball coach 'helped' search for boy he's accused of killing

Minnaar was a regular at the 17:00 to 19:00 practice sessions at the Hout Bay Sports Club over the road from Imizamo Yethu. As motorists in the area know, it is a hive of activity and includes skateboarders who practise their flips and kicks and sometimes speed down the road, narrowly avoiding traffic. 

For the youth of Imizamo Yethu, a suburb where there are steep steps and narrow winding roads, which has risen from repeated fires, the sports club was a popular gathering point. At least 20 soccer clubs practised there too. 

Sibusiso Dakuse
Sibusiso Dakuse. (Supplied)

So, on 26 February 2020 - the day Sibusiso went missing - Mbulawa did not pay much attention to Minnaar when he arrived late and walked through the gate in a basketball vest, because he had a lot to deal with.

He had just sorted out a situation where a soccer club was playing on their basketball court, and he had to separate the lively young sportsmen and women playing two sports on one court.

It is understood that Sibusiso was last seen with someone who wore a basketball shirt that resembled the Snipers' navy blue, orange and white kit.

READ | The secrets of the reeds: How little Sibusiso Dakuse's body was found

He saw Minnaar walk across the basketball court towards the skateboarders. Coach Ronald also arrived late and Mbulawa himself was late because he had only knocked off work at 17:00 and had to walk to the court.

He said Minnaar did not coach the under 14s and 12s as usual and that he did not see him again that night.

On Tuesday, he said he was loathe to scold the coaches for arriving late, or not at all, because they were volunteers.

The police pitched up at Mbulawa's work with Sibusiso's grandmother on 27 February. Although they did not have a photo of him, he was sure the boy was not in his club because he knew all the players and their parents.

The parents communicate on a WhatsApp group, he had had a parents' meeting two weeks earlier, and every player had to be registered because the club is affiliated to the Cape Town Basketball Association. So he was positive that Sibusiso was not a player.

That night, the police arrived at the basketball courts to question more team members and the other coaches. 

Mbulawa said, under cross-examination on Wednesday, that he asked Minnaar at the time: "What happened to this boy?".

READ | Court sees gruesome footage of when Hout Bay boy's body was found in bed of reeds

He said Minnaar told him the boy had accompanied him to the Clicks pharmacy, and they parted ways at the Hout Bay police station at the entrance to Imizamo Yethu.

When he heard this, his first thought was concern for the boy's safety.

The last time he saw Minnaar was when they joined a search for the boy.

Minnaar's lawyer Johan Burger Brand said the accused vehemently denies this exchange, and pointed out that it was not in his official statement to the police.

Burger Brand latched on to the design of the club's three kits, questioning Mbulawa on who designed and manufactured the kit and whether any other sports team in the fishing village wore similar colours.

To Mbulawa's knowledge, only the Snipers wore royal blue, but he noted that the team's debut kit was accidentally made in adult sizes and would fit an adult.

When the kit connection was made, police started questioning people associated with the Hout Bay Snipers as the police and community of Hout Bay scrambled to look for the promising young singer. 

Minnaar was arrested on 28 February 2020 after Sibusiso's body was found in reeds off Manchester Road.

He has pleaded not guilty to kidnapping, rape and murder.

The trial continues.

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