The baby is Erasmus’s daughter, born on Sunday. She lay quietly in her grandfather Casper’s arms while Magistrate Retha Willemse summed up the evidence.
Erasmus and De Koker were charged with murder, child abuse, and assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, relating to the death of 15-year-old Raymond Buys at the Echo Wild Game Rangers camp in 2011.
Willemse detailed the abuse meted out to Buys and the injuries he suffered. He was punched, struck with a spade, a stick, and a “piele wapper” (60cm-long rubber pipe). He was forced to eat soap powder, pick up his own faeces with his mouth and was kicked and slapped while unconscious to “wake him up”.
Witnesses testified that during his time at the camp, Buys was dirty, neglected and would soil himself. He could not walk properly and often collapsed.
They testified that De Koker would physically abuse Buys, claiming he was lazy, had a bad attitude and would pick at his wounds. He allegedly tried to commit suicide, which is why he was chained to his bed.
A doctor who examined Buys when he was admitted to hospital, a day before his death, found he was emaciated, had cigarette burns, was brain damaged and in a deep coma, had a broken arm, and signs of kidney failure.
He testified that some of the injuries were up to a month old and the worst he had ever seen.
During proceedings, Erasmus, his dark brown hair slicked back, sat hunched forward in the dock with his chin resting on his hand. De Koker, wearing a bright pink shirt, stared straight ahead.
Posters put up by the NGO Women and Men Against Child Abuse adorned the fence surrounding the court.
“Life sentence for child killers,” read one.
“Hou hulle in die tronk (Keep them in jail),” said another.
Two small, white handmade coffins each with a photo of Buys and the letters “RIP” on it were propped up against the fence.