They say the pensioner, who people called a “tokoloshe and dwarf” and who was accused of conning mense on the Cape Flats, suffers from Alzheimer’s.
Last week a video of Boeta Zainodien Moerat, 68, went viral on Facebook, showing two young men threatening to pulverise his hand with a hammer while locking his arm in a vice at an auto workshop.
A second video shows the men placing the terrified pensioner’s finger in a car engine, shocking him.
In a third video, the old man is forced to admit he is a conman, and that he won’t do it again.
They accused Zainodien of lying about his life and problems, playing on people’s sympathies in order to get money out of them.
But his son, Zainodien Junior, 34, says his dad is not lying about the fact that his wife died and that he’s sukkeling.
The son, who is also diminutive, says when they showed his father the videos, the old man did not recognise himself.
Speaking to the Daily Voice this week, the Hanover Park family expressed their disgust and pain after seeing the videos on Facebook, and called on people not to harm or harass Zainodien on the street, where the dad of four is a familiar sight at robots, begging for money and food.
Also, he insists: “We are not dwarfs, we are just short."
He says his dad was never the same after his mother, Adielah Moerat, 57, died from pancreatic cancer 10 years ago.
His parents were married for 38 years.
The old man currently shares a flat with his three sons and 25 cats in Hanover Park.
His daughter lives in Parow.
“When my mother died, we learnt he had Alzheimer’s disease,” says Zainodien.
“My mother and father were inseparable. They would not go to bed without one another.”
He believes this is the reason why his father, a former truck driver, started begging.
“There are many times when he doesn’t even recognise us,” he adds.
“That is painful. We lock the doors and try and keep him inside.
“I want to tell people to leave my father alone, if he asks for something, help him but don’t harm him.”
He says they only learnt of the videos after neighbours alerted them.
“I saw all three of the videos and it hurt me watching it.
“My father is scared now. I feel if I should find the people who did it, I would want to harm them. My father is a gentle person who would not harm a fly, why did they do this to him?”
He says the culprits, who apologised on Facebook, had not contacted the family.
It is believed the three videos were recorded at Alpine Auto Electric in Grassy Park.