Murdered drum major’s family pleads for fair trial
The family of an 19-year-old drum major who was murdered nearly two years ago are asking for a fair and just finalisation of the trial after the accused’s legal counsel asked for the charge to be dismissed.
Charlton Dyers has been the accused in the Chad Arendse case for nearly two years and this is the first time that he has been publicly named in the media.
The State previously called for his identity to be protected due to the identity parade process before the trial began a year ago. The identity parade process has been finalised and the State has since closed its case and called witnesses.
Nearly two weeks ago, Dyers’ legal counsel called for a discharge, which is an acquittal, arguing that the State did not have enough evidence to prove their case.
The legal counsel has also indicated that Dyers is not expected to take the witness stand in his own defence.
Arendse’s grieving family said they have the right to a just and fair trial and to hear what Dyers’ witnesses had to say.
Dyers’ family previously claimed he was innocent, during spats outside the courthouse.
They said he was innocent and that they were praying for his safety.
He has since been granted R2 000 bail.
The case was postponed to June 11 for the magistrate to state whether she rejected or accepted the discharge.
Arendse, who was a drum major for the Littlewood Primary Drill Squad and the Western Province Marching Squad, had attended the 21st-birthday party of a friend in Rocklands when he was shot and killed in June 2019.
Arendse was also involved in the Malay and Christmas choirs and was a member of the Pennsylvanians minstrels and also taught many children. He was to join the South African Navy this year before he died.
Arendse’s family are expected to host a memorial service on May 25, which would have been his 21st birthday.
Carmen van der Schyff, Arendse’s aunt, spoke on behalf of the family and said that their lives had changed dramatically after he died due to the impact he had in the community.
“Chad birthday is on May 25 would have been his 21st birthday, and we will be holding a memorial service at home just to celebrate his birthday and legacy.
“His death impacted us in a way I can’t explain, it still feels like it yesterday and we still can’t come to terms with his death, and we need answers on what happened and why.
“We think of him every day since it happened and there’s not a day we don’t cry. It’s a tremendous loss.”
She said the family deserved answers.
“The case, the lawyer of the accused, asked that it be dismissed due to a lack of evidence but we as a family feel that we have a right to hear what the witnesses of the accused have to say. We need to know what happened on that terrible day.
“We knew they were acquaintances but they didn’t really know one another. There were a lot of friends who were at that party, it would be good if one of them can come and say what happened to give us closure.
“Chad’s sisters are crying for their brother, missing their brother. We miss his personality and always being willing to help, and you can feel that something is missing. The drill squad, the Malay choir, the friends, they miss him, it’s too sad to talk about, and the person he was, you don’t get many people like Chad. He made time to coach children, the marching and drilling was his passion, and for someone to take him away from people who loved him so much…”
Linda Jones of the Mitchells Plain United Residents Association (Mura) said they would be appealing for a fair and just trial, and the case had only shown the side of the State and not the defence.
Mura has been following the case since the start and offered support to the family.
“The defence had that opportunity to cross-examine the state witnesses,” she said. “As the community and the family of the deceased, we feel that our children have been robbed of someone who has in fact impacted so many young lives through his coaching them in the marching band.
“As the community of Mitchells Plain, we request that we also be granted a fair acknowledgement in regard to this matter, we believe also its in the interest of all parties involved and fairness and rights.
“We believe it should not be one-sided, it should be granted to both the deceased, who cannot speak for himself, as well as for the accused and his family
“We, therefore, beg the court to hear the call and our plea to grant us to hear from the defence, and then the court can make a decision.’’