A man who is believed to be a Gugulethu “pastor” and two accomplices have been accused of killing 41-year-old Gugulethu resident, Baba Swartbooi, and trying to kill another man because he believed they had broken into his house.
The pastor, whose identity is known to Vukani, is accused of beating to death Mr Swartbooi and assaulting his friend, on Thursday April 13 and then dumping the bodies in a bush near Philippi.
Mr Swartbooi’s traumatised and distraught girlfriend, Andisiwe Vuma, said they were fast asleep when the pastor knocked at their door, sometime between 11pm and midnight on Thursday April 13, and demanded to see her boyfriend.
She said he had been accompanied by two other men.
When she asked what they wanted from him, she was told that they wanted to talk “men’s stuff” and she was ordered to go back to sleep. And that was the last time she saw the father of her little children alive.
A passer-by discovered Mr Swartbooi’s lifeless and bruised body lying in a pool of blood on Friday April 14.
Ms Vuma said she later discovered that her boyfriend had been accused by someone of breaking into a house. She said she would now have the task of raising her children alone. “Our children do not have a father because of this man (pastor). He must pay for what he did,” she said.
Ms Vuma said she was still struggling to come to grips with Mr Swartbooi’s death and that the pastor had since disappeared.The 26-year-old man who was also assaulted, said the pastor had caught him trying to steal something from his house.
The man, whose identity is also known to Vukani, claimed the pastor and his two accomplices took him to a nearby bush where they beat him for nearly two hours with steel pipes and stones.
He said they demanded to know who he had been with, even though they had found him alone in the house. He said they insisted that he had been with someone and continued to assault him until he confessed.
“Because of the severe beatings, I ended up mentioning Baba’s name because I just wanted them to stop beating me. They left me at the bush and went to fetch him,” he said.
Upon their return, they continued assaulting them until he eventually passed out. He woke up outside the Gugulethu Day Hospital’s gate. He had no idea what happened to Mr Swartbooi.
Both his arms and his left knee are in casts after he spent two weeks at the Gugulethu clinic.
Ms Vuma provided Vukani with a case number, but our attempts to get a comment from the Gugulethu police station were unsuccessful. When we phoned the station, we were told that all the senior staff who could talk to us were attending a sports event at Philippi Police academy.
We then contacted SAPS’ provincial communications department, who referred us back to the police station.
The Gugulethu Community Policing Forum said they were not aware of the case and would only meet with the management of the police station today, Thursday May 4.
We were also not able to get comment from the Gugulethu clinic by the time this edition went to print.