Notorious gang boss, preacher, benefactor.
Rashied Staggie, 63, was different things to different people.
He was on Friday gunned down on the same street where his twin brother, Rashaad, was shot and set alight 23 years ago.
He was a Robin Hood to the people of Manenberg and a villain to other communities on the Cape Flats.
Soon after the shocking news of his assassination in Salt River, many expressed relief, but others painted a different picture of the once-feared alleged former gang boss.
Staggie’s friend of 20 years and ministering partner, Ivan Waldeck, told Weekend Argus he had spoken to Staggie early on Friday morning and the two had made arrangements to meet at 11am to grab a bite to eat and to catch up.
“I am devastated. For a father, brother and child to be killed this way. How long will we keep destroying each other?” he asked.
Waldeck said he and Staggie had been ministering together for 16 years.
“Staggie had a heart and a vision for peace in Cape Town. I feel like I have lost a piece of me. I will never forget him. He walked with me,” said Waldeck.
He told Weekend Argus that Staggie had apologised to close to 2000 people since being “re-born” and that condolences were streaming in not just from Capetonians, but also from friends outside South Africa.
“He also told me that he never raped that girl (Chantelle Knight),” said Waldeck.
Knight, 17, was a state witness whose testimony helped put Staggie behind bars after she testified against the men who had allegedly gang-raped her on his orders.
In 2013, Knight was shot five times in Manenberg in an alleged hit.
In 2003, Staggie was sentenced to jail after he was convicted for ordering the gang rape of Knight. He was sentenced to 15 years for kidnapping and rape.
However, national co-ordinator for People Against Gangsterism and Drugs (Pagad), Haroon Orrie said the shooting of Staggie should not leave people worried about the repercussions.
“They shouldn’t have this concern. This is a blessing for the country and particularly the Western Cape because of the torment over the years, This is a firm and stern warning for the people who support them (gangs) to stop. There is that option to stop otherwise it is inevitable that what we have seen over the past few days will keep happening,” he said.
On August 4, 1996, Rashaad Staggie was shot and then burnt alive, allegedly by Pagad members who had conducted an anti-drug raid at the time.
Younger brother Solomon Staggie said while the family was devastated, they were handling the death of Rashied “quite well” and no funeral arrangements had been finalised.
“It is now up to his wife to take the decision on how he will be buried. We are heartbroken. His wife is taking it very hard,” said Solomon.
He denied “rumours” that Rashied’s son was also shot and killed on Friday.
Solomon told Weekend Argus he had been ministering at a prison on Friday morning when he received the news of his brother’s death.
In 2004, Rashied was convicted of burglary from the Faure police armoury and sentenced to 13 years in prison.
In May 2013, the Western Cape Department of Correctional Services announced that he would be released on parole for good behaviour in late September 2013.
Western Cape police spokesperson Brigadier Novela Potelwa confirmed that Staggie was declared dead on arrival at a nearby hospital. Reports indicated that he was sitting in a silver Toyota Corolla outside his home with a friend, when he was fatally shot.
“Two unknown suspects emerged, fired several shots at him and fled on foot. Woodstock police have reinforced deployment in and around the Salt River area,” said Potelwa.
Community Safety MEC Albert Fritz condemned the violence and appealed for calm.
“This follows the shooting and death of a reported gang member, aged 32, in Mitchells Plain yesterday. SAPS have informed me that they are on high alert following the murder of Staggie. I call on all neighbourhood watches, CPFs and responsible community leaders to play a role in bringing calm to our people,” said Fritz.