Nearly two years after the decomposing body of her son was found buried in a shallow grave, this mother will finally see justice as his four suspected killers’ trial starts today.
Petronella Sauls and her family have since relocated from their home in Lost City, Mitchells Plain, after her son Herchelle Sauls, 21, was brutally stabbed to death in 2014.
Today, the suspects, only known as Ernie, Mugabe, Lampies and Tabakkies, are expected to appear at the Mitchells Plain Regional Court on a charge of murder.
On October 21, 2014, a passer-by found Herchelle’s remains buried in a shallow grave at Wolfgat Nature Reserve, Tafelsig.
Police asked for help in identifying the body, and Herchelle’s sister Candice Sauls, 27, saw a story in a local newspaper referring to a tattoo on the deceased’s arm.
“My friend brought me the Plainsman and said I must read it,” she explains.
“It said the deceased person had a tattoo, the name Joey-Lee on the arm and that was the name of my daughter.”
DNA tests later confirmed it was Herschelle's body.
Upon learning the body belonged to Herschelle, who was well-liked in his community, residents of Tafelsig quickly rallied together reporting vital information to police about his alleged killers.
Petronella says the community helped detectives in nabbing the suspected killers: “When the community heard it was Herchelle, they contacted the Detective Sergeant Welcome Nkenke, telling him who was involved in the murder and the police did a sterling job [arresting them].”
As the trial approaches, Petronella is overwhelmed with emotion, but is determined to look her son’s alleged killers in the eye.
“He was a son to mothers of the community. He would greet one neighbour every day and visit her home and he used to sleep behind my back even though he was 21,” she says.
“I think going to court will be important because they didn’t just kill him, they killed the family.
“Each one of us had our relationship with him and I wish this was all a bad dream and that the DNA [test] was wrong.”