National 27.5.2014 11.28 am

Johannes Christiaan de Jager given life in jail

FILE PICTURE: Katrina Mare, mother of dismembered teenager Chairmaine Mare, and a friend Nikita Small react during the court appearance of Johannes Christiaan de Jager (foreground) at the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town on Tuesday, 15 April 2014. Picture: Nardus Engelbrecht/SAPA
Former motor mechanic Johannes Christiaan de Jager was on Tuesday sentenced to life in jail for the “brutal and savage” murder of two teenagers.

Western Cape High Court acting Judge Chuma Cossie handed down three life sentences to run concurrently, finding there were no substantial and compelling circumstances allowing her to deviate from prescribed minimum sentences.

“This court has taken into account the personal circumstances of the accused. However, it is in agreement with the State that the accused has shown no signs of remorse during the trial and during mitigation of sentence,” she said.

“It is also mindful of the fact that two young lives were violated and such lives cannot be replaced.”

De Jager, 49, was last month convicted of killing and raping 18-year-old sex worker Hiltina Alexander in 2008 and killing 16-year-old Charmaine Mare last year. Both crimes were committed in Cape Town.

Cossie handed down a life sentence each for the rape and murder of Alexander.

He also received a life sentence for Mare’s murder.

Six years in jail were handed down for dismembering Mare’s corpse and three months for stealing her cellphone.

De Jager, dressed in jeans, a checked shirt, and blue jersey, smirked as the sentence was handed down. He leaned against the dock in a relaxed manner and looked around at the people in court.

Cossie said she agreed with Sakkie Maartens that his client was not a serial killer, as suggested by State witness Brigadier Gerard Labuschagne during sentencing arguments.

However, rape and murder were very serious offences and needed to be punished in a way that would satisfy the interests of society.

“This kind of brutality is regrettably too a part of life in South Africa. Courts are expected to send out a clear message that such behaviour will be met with the full force and effect of the law,” she said.

“The legislature is concerned about this and so too should we be.”

Cossie said she had kept in mind that alcohol consumption had played a role in Alexander’s murder, as suggested by the defence.

However, this was one of many factors to consider.

“Society expects that offenders such as this one before court today should be punished for such offences and, if possible, be totally removed from the community at large,” she said.

With regards to Mare’s murder, it was clear he had abused the trust that the Mpumalanga resident had in him.

“Instead of helping the deceased look for work as promised and take care of her while her friend and mother were away, he used the opportunity to violate her and showed no remorse by denying that he killed her, only admitting that he violated the corpse and nothing further.”

Outside court, members of the Sisonke sex workers’ movement ululated and jumped for joy at the sentences. Some carried posters stating: “We demand justice” and “Decriminalise sex work now”.

National Sisonke organiser Duduzile Dlamini shouted that she was happy that they were also regarded as human.

She said many crimes had been committed against her on the street but she had not reported them because of trouble with police and the justice system.

“I’ve been in the industry many years. This one [case] shows me that our voices are heard now and I’m going to motivate my colleagues to go back and review their cases.”

- Sapa

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Total 2 comments
Leigh Davids2014-05-27 13:19:06
I agree 100% with the sentencing, it's about time that the justice system sees actions such as De Jager's, violenty inhuman. As a proud sex worker and a Sisonke member, I also agree with my fellow colleague and comrade that this has really given some of us more faith and belief in approaching the justice system and police service regarding human violations against sex workers in person/s. I also hope that goverment now once again, but to a more serious extent of incident sees the removal of the current criminalazation of sex work for what it results to. 'Decrim of Sex Work' is definetely the way forward for a safer and healthier country!!!
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Celicia2014-05-27 12:51:01
This story is close to my heart and I am relieved to see that there is Justice in South Africa, this shows the system does work if you believe in it... Rot in Hell
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