“Allah have mercy.”
These are the last words uttered by Mitchells Plain dad Igshaan Philander before he died in an Elsies River rehab after allegedly being tortured and beaten to death.
Just days after Zaid Isaacs, the owner of Synergy Rehabilitation and Upliftment Centre in Louis Botha Street, and his co accused, Ederies Hendricks, made their first appearance in the Goodwood Magistrates’ Court, an eyewitness has come forward to share her version of the incident with the Daily Voice.
Zeah van Eeden, 31, from Hanover Park says she’s been having sleepless nights since escaping from the centre last Tuesday, on the day Igshaan’s body was found.
The mother of two says she ran straight to the Elsies River Police Station to piemp Isaacs.
She says after fighting a heroin addiction for 15 years, she was relieved when her parents booked her into the centre on 2 November.
“I was there before Igshaan got there and the first day I sommer knew stuff wasn’t right,” she says.
She alleges that Isaacs is a “sick and sadistic drug user” who enjoys torturing addicts and relies on their lack of credibility to keep them silent.
“Firstly, the staff at the centre are all patients.
“When I got there, I had a needle and a button on me.
“He took it off me and I was supposed to detox on Methadone but he never gave it.
“I gave him all the stuff I had and the next day he told me I smoke k** pille because he smoked my Mandrax himself.”
The frightened woman says she was sexually harassed by a 15-year-old laaitie who allegedly tried to rape her and burnt her with entjies when she refused.
“The men and women weren’t separated and every time he told me he wanted to f*** me and then burnt me with cigarettes.”
She says from the day Igshaan arrived, the men started beating him mercilessly.
“All I knew is that he smoked tik and they hit him every day,” says Zeah.
“He was put in a room that they call ‘lockdown’ and that was for people that want to run away.
“He was bleeding and his face was purple and blue.
“On the morning he died (Sunday, 14 November) I walked past that room and saw him sitting on the floor with his pants down, crying ‘Allah have mercy’ and not even an hour later he was dead.
“I think he had internal injuries because there was water coming from his bum.”
It is also alleged the rehab lied to his family, who had called for him, by telling them he had run away.
She says Isaacs concocted a plan to dispose of the body the next day.
“He is the one who told them (Hendricks and the 15-year old boy) to do it and we all could say nothing.
“Igshaan’s mother was there a few days earlier and she left clothes for him and Zaid made them undress him and put on the new tracksuit before they went to dump his body,” says Zeah.
His body was found in Varkensvlei Road in Philippi on Tuesday; he was wearing a blue tracksuit.
Zeah says on Tuesday night, she got an opportunity to escape when the gate was left unlocked by the cook.
“I ran to the Elsies River Police Station and told them what was going on.
“We were treated like animals and Zaid is a lunatic.
“We had to watch how his two Rottweilers were fed live rabbits.”
“I am so traumatised because all of us went there to get better.
“They killed that man and lied to his parents.”
Hendricks and Isaacs appeared in court on Friday where they were charged with Igshaan’s murder and torture.
Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, confirmed: “The person who was arrested is also the owner.
“Him and another accused appeared at Goodwood A court.
“The case against the 15-year-old has been withdrawn.
“The case was postponed to 2 December for bail application and further decision from the DPP [Director of Public Prosecutions].”
The rehab – which social development MEC Sharna Fernandez has called illegal – has been shut down.