Mother of murdered son begs for answers

The late Justin Kortje.

Emotions ran high at the first Cape Town Central Community Police Forum (CPF) meeting of the year when the mother of Justin Kortje, who was murdered in the Company’s Garden in 2018, begged the CPF to help her find answers about her son’s death.

Marian Kortjie, who had fallen ill, said she refused healthcare to attend the meeting at the station on Thursday February 6.

With tears streaming down her face, Ms Kortje asked the CPF to assist her, and said the police had not given her answers. And no one had been arrested for her son’s murder.

Justin 25, was stabbed to death after the Festival of the Lights in the early hours of Monday December 3.

Ms Kortjie is still seeking answers, saying that the police had failed her (“Festive lights aftermath”, CapeTowner, December 6, 2018).

An emotional Ms Kortjie said they have received little to no help from the station. “We have laid two complaints with SAPS; we are still waiting for footage and blood tests to be done. I’ve been to the Ombudsman, to the Independent Police Investigative Directorate (IPID), and to the public protector. I don’t know what to do,and I beg you to please help me.”

The CapeTowner reported last year that the Ombudsman found wrongdoings on the part of SAPS, and that the “outcome has been communicated to the Provincial Commissioner of the SAPS” (“No justice for Justin, CapeTowner, October 17, 2019).

At the time, the ombudsman spokesperson, Deidre Foster, said acting on the recommendations would be done at the discretion of the provincial police commissioner.

The SAPS provincial commissioner’s office said the investigating officer, Warrant Officer Jeremy Steyn, had been addressed in line with “SAPS Discipline Regulations” but did not specify what the outcome was.

Ms Kortjie said she had been given a runaround by SAPS, as she had received information via social media about her son’s murder and had sent it all to the investigating officer, however, nothing was done.

She said the lack of communication had made her sick.

“I can deal with a lot, but I refuse to deal with people treating us like this. We need answers and closure.”

Cape Town police spokesperson, Captain Ezra October, said disciplinary action was taken against the officer, however, he is still waiting on forensic evidence. He said here is a backlog, and there was nothing they could do to speed up the process.

“We acknowledge that Ms Kortjie is frustrated, that’s why we advised her to go to Ombudsman and to IPID to see where they can assist.”

He added that Ms Kortjie’s accusations that police were corrupt, was unfair. “It’s an investigation that is ongoing. We have assisted and we have advised them on a number of occasions.”

CPF chairperson, Marc Truss, said his heart went out to Ms Kortjie and the struggles she faced. He said he would enquire about the case and try to help where he can, so that she could get peace of mind.

PR councillor Sumaya Taliep offered Ms Kortjie trauma counselling, and asked her to connect with the women’s network in her area to get support from community members.

She told Ms Kortjie she would try her best to get feedback for her case, as her heart broke for her.

In 2013 her pregnant 17-year-old daughter, Keshia, was also murdered. Her body was found wrapped in a sheet near to the family’s home in Factreton. Her throat had been slit. Up to the day before her daughter’s killer was found guilty, she said, they had been in the dark about how she had died.

CapeTowner sent an enquiry to the provincial police about the forensics backlog, to which Colonel Andre Traut responded: “Kindly be advised that this office is not mandated to comment on matters pertaining to the Forensic Laboratories as this is a national responsibility.”

Asked if Justin’s case was a prioritised due to all the complaints from the family, he said: “All serious and violent crimes such as murders are investigated as a priority and the same applies to this case.”