HUBERT MEJANIE, 12,
KILLED SATURDAY, JANUARY 23 2010
FOUR years after 12-year-old Hubert Mejanie was shot dead in Helenvale his family are still battling to come to terms with the tragedy.
His mother, Stephanie Witbooi, said Hubert’s twin brother Herbert, 16, although not identical, was a constant reminder of her late son. “I look at him and I wonder what Hubie would be like at this age. I miss him terribly. I always will,” she said.
Hubert’s killer, Jeremy “Oubaas” King, 32, was sentenced in 2012 to two terms of life in prison for Hubert’s murder, for gunning down a rival gangster and the attempted murder of a state witness.
His co-accused, Clayton “Big Show” Francis, 22, was sentenced to 20 years.
“We were relieved when they went to prison but it was only when we heard that ‘Bubbles’ [Handsley Smit, 24] had been killed last week that we finally knew that Hubie was at peace. Eyewitnesses who testified at court said that Oubaas and Big Show were after Bubbles the night that Hubie was shot. “They said that they saw Bubbles hold Hubie in front of him like a shield when they shot at him. They said this was how Hubie died, but Bubbles had always denied this. We knew he was lying and we knew that one day he would be punished for what he did to my child,” she said.
Witbooi said Hubert came to her in a dream after she heard about Bubbles’s death, also in a gang-related shooting, sat on the edge of her bed and held her hand.
“Hubert smiled at me. That was when I knew he was finally at rest, at peace.”
She said Hubert was a soft, very kind child who was always ready to help.
“He never complained about anything. He told me that one day he would become a teacher and he would look after me and we would move somewhere else.”
She said Hubert and his brother Herbert had been very close and always stood up for each other. “I am very worried about Herbert. He is at a very vulnerable age now and I am scared these gangsters will use his brother’s death to get him to join up with them. He is not attending school at the moment because other boys at school were fighting with him and I just thought that I should remove him from that situation for now. I will not survive losing another child.”
She said Hubert had come home to wash his hair before going to visit a friend on the day he died. “He asked me how he looked and I said he looked very good. He went to the shop and that was where he was shot. I think he was just the closest to Bubbles, who must have grabbed him. It happened just a few metres from our house.”
Witbooi said the two witnesses who testified that Bubbles had grabbed Hubert and held him as a shield had been in witness protection before testifying in court. “I want the mothers of Helenvale to be strong. We need to be strong for our children.”
She said her daughter Kim, Hubert and Herbert’s older sister, had given birth to twin boys, Burton and Bernito, four months ago.
“It is as if God has given Hubie back to us because Burton is very much like he was. Bernito is very much like Herbert.”