Shakoor Roberts walked into a packed room at the Mitchells Plain Regional Court facing relatives, friends and neighbours.
His defence lawyer, a Ms. Boer, says Shakoor will testify that he has “no knowledge” of how his mother died or how her body landed in the dirt bin. Shakoor is also expected to deny having had any telephone conversations with State witness, Gadija Stevens.
Gafsa Roberts, 61, was found in the bin outside her Winterhoek Street home in Tafelsig on 2 March 2015.
The State is set to prove that while living alone with his sickly mother, Shakoor killed her.
Roberts is a diagnosed schizophrenic and relatives say Gafsa used to sleep with a knife under her pillow.
Gafsa’s cousin, Gadija, 68, was the first to take the witness stand.
She said Shakoor claimed his mother had gone away for the weekend to visit friends.
A feisty Gadija said she and Gafsa were bosom buddies who would often chat for hours on the phone.
“I called her the Saturday at 8:45pm and she didn’t answer, but Shakoor did,” Gadjia testified.
“We were buddies and we spoke to one another using the free airtime. He said his mother is not there and that she went away for the weekend to friends in Delft and left her phone and her cellphone in his care.
“After a few minutes I called back and it rang and Shakoor cancelled my call.”
She said the next day, a relative called to ask whether she had seen Gafsa.
“My brother picked me up at midnight (on Sunday) and when we drove past we saw the lights were on and then we drove off thinking she must be home.”
Gadija broke down in court sobbing when she got the call on the Monday at 7am from a relative saying Gafsa’s body had been found: “They said her body was found inside the dirt bin.”
Jane Waterloo also took the stand, testifying she had last seen her neighbour of 34 years alive on the Friday morning.
Gafsa’s eldest daughter, Rushana Adams, also testified, saying her mother failed to arrive at her Hanover Park home on Friday afternoon to fetch her granddaughter.
When she sent her mother a Whatsapp message to ask where she was, she received the reply: “Ek kom môre.”
She said she found the message strange because her mother never used spacing.
She reported her mother missing and cops and neighbours searched the house and even the wheelie bin.
She said her brother acted suspiciously that day and just wanted everyone “out of the house before he does something”.
At this, Shakoor burst into tears. The trial continues.