A Cape Town mother will have to wait a week for her bail application to determine whether she will be able to attend the funeral of her youngest son.
Abigail Ruiters, 30, and her boyfriend Ameeruddien Peters, 26, appeared in the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday following the death of 18-month-old Jeremiah Ruiters.
The couple were remanded in custody for a bail application on June 21.
Ruiters’ father, Pastor Ronald Ruiters, said on Wednesday he would visit his daughter at Pollsmoor prison to discuss the funeral of his grandson and whether she wants the family to wait for her possible release so she can see her baby boy being buried.
Ruiters has been charged under the Children’s Act, and Peters has been charged with murder after the toddler died of serious injuries to his head and body on Monday.
The couple lived together with her three children.
After seeing his daughter in the dock, a tearful Ruiters said he hoped Abigail would be released on bail as she raised her children on her own.
“She went for somebody who she thought could be a father figure to her [children],” Ruiters said.
“Even though she’s my daughter, where child negligence is concerned, the law must take its course.”
Ruiters has officiated at a number of funerals for young victims of violent crimes, including Celine Cowley, 4, who was sexually assaulted and stabbed in Ravensmead in August 2006, and Nadine Jantjies, 7, who was raped and strangled in Wesbank in 2009.
“How do I feel? This is my very own blood. I am not okay – I am destroyed.
“How can one [allegedly] kill a child that you raised? You are supposed to love them.”
Peters was rumoured to have married Ruiters according to Muslim rites, but her father said he couldn’t confirm this as he hadn’t been invited.
They had been in a relationship for about a year.
“He is a silent guy, someone who would pretend he’s okay. He pretended to be a great person.”
His grandson was a loving child, Ruiters recalled fondly.
“Jeremiah always smiled when I held him. He was okay when I went there.”
Three months ago, the toddler was hospitalised after he broke his arm.
Ruiters claimed the Department of Social Services had visited the house once following the incident and questioned the family.
They, however, “did not act”.
“They left it just like that. If they had done their work, I think Jeremiah could still have lived.”
Sihle Ngobese, spokesperson for MEC for Social Development Albert Fritz, refuted that contact had only been made once.
“Social workers held regular contact with the family, and conducted home visits after the child had been hospitalised on two previous occasions,” he said.
“However there was no evidence at that time of abuse from the family, and social workers can only act and intervene on evidence available to them.”
Ngobese condemned Jeremiah’s murder as a “cruel act”.
“This matter once again raises the importance of the family as being the first line of defence for children, as government cannot be in every household all the time. We call on our partners, the South African Police Service and the National Prosecuting Authority, to put forward strong cases and secure convictions.”[Source: news24]