Man’s body kept in freezer, then dumped
Kabega Park family in court for murder of electrician, 70
The body of an elderly electrician – allegedly killed by a mother and her two children – was kept in a freezer for at least a day before it was dumped off a dirt road in Fairview.
This came to light on Monday, when the trio – Christine Russouw, 55, her daughter, Chantell, 35, and son, Wayne, 31, appeared in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate’s Court for the murder of 70-year-old Petrus Scholtz.
The state indicated that it would push for life sentences for the three.
The Russouws were arrested at about 6.30pm on Friday at their home in Woltemade Street, Kabega Park.
The case is expected to be transferred to the Port Elizabeth High Court as senior prosecutors are interested in taking it over.
Police spokesperson Colonel Priscilla Naidu confirmed that Scholtz’s body had been stored in a freezer.
“They [Russouws] attempted to sell the freezer [allegedly] to get rid of evidence of the murder,” she said.
“We managed to confiscate the freezer and other evidence before they sold it.”
Naidu did not specify how, or to whom, the family had tried to sell the freezer.
When the three appeared in court, the mother appeared nervous while her two children were more composed when their names were called.
There were no family members or friends in the public gallery to support them.
The state also indicated its intention to oppose bail, alluding to the seriousness of the offence.A calm-looking Wayne, whose right arm was bandaged, scratched his ear constantly, leading the magistrate to ask if he was raising his hand to say something.
“No, I am simply scratching my ear. Sorry, man,” he responded.
It also emerged in court that Wayne had a pending case of theft, the details of which were not made public.
Both his mother and sister appeared as first offenders.Scholtz’s brother, Johan, 61, who lives in Jeffreys Bay, said he had found out about the murder after his sister, Amanda Brazelle, 67 , who lives in East London, could not get hold of Scholtz.
“On Thursday morning, my sister said she had been unable to get hold of him since Wednesday,” Johan said.
“I then jumped into my car and came to Port Elizabeth to try to find out where he was.
“While there, I heard of the body that had been found in Fairview.
“I went to the police station later and this is when I found out it was him.”Johan said the family was still coming to terms with the murder.
“I am coping for now but every time I close my eyes at night to go to sleep, it keeps going through my head,” he said.
The family is originally from Graaff-Reinet, but they are now spread out across the country.
He said Scholtz had worked as an electrician for the Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) for about 25 years, before retiring several years ago.
“He lived in Johannesburg, where he worked for Acsa.
“But for the past 10 years or more, he has been living in Port Elizabeth.”
Johan said they were struggling to deal with Scholtz’s murder.
“No-one deserves to die like that,” he said.
“I am not going there [to court] to see these people as it will just make me more upset.
“Maybe, in time, I will go there and face them, but for now I just cannot do it.”
Johan said Scholtz’s son, Marinus, who lives in Johannesburg, would be coming to Port Elizabeth, along with other relatives, for Scholtz’s cremation at the Avbob Funeral Parlour at midday on Thursday.
Scholtz’s other sister, Anneline Gerber, 65, lives in the Bay.
Scholtz, who worked for Peter White Electrical in Summerstrand, was found at 8am on Thursday, dumped along a gravel road in Fairview.
His head had large gashes from being beaten while his hands and feet were bound, mouth taped shut and head covered in clingwrap.
Police say Scholtz was contacted by the Russouw family on Tuesday night to do a private electrical job at the house.Some of the items stolen, including tools, were allegedly found inside their house.
Naidu said the motive was believed to be robbery, but that could change.
Police recovered the company bakkie that Scholtz had been driving when he disappeared, in North End on Saturday morning after the Russouws allegedly sold it.
The murder docket was transferred from the Walmer police station to the Kabega Park police station at the weekend as Scholtz’s murder allegedly occurred at a house in the area.
Acting director of public prosecutions advocate Indra Goberdan said her office would more than likely take over the prosecution of the case to ensure maximum sentences were handed down.
“The matter will be referred to my office for a decision,” she said.
Meanwhile, it is not clear what the family does for a living.
The Herald reported on Monday that the mother worked as a car guard at Metlife Plaza.
However, Nick de Beer, director at Profrent, the company that manages the car guards at Metlife, said Christine Russouw had not worked there since September 2017 and that her daughter, Chantell, had worked there in 2008.