Originally published in The North Coast Courier
A Ballito pastor first arrested a man he had seen slit the throat of a woman – then prayed for him.
The pastor was shopping for a radio controlled car for his son on yesterday afternoon when he heard screams coming from the ladies bathroom on the top floor of the Ballito Junction shopping centre.
“Women were running out of the bathroom screaming. Another man and I rushed in and a woman pointed out the cubicle the screaming had come from. The guy who ran in with me pushed the door open and then stepped back in shock when he saw what was going on in there.
“A man stepped out of the cubicle brandishing a knife and as he was leaving he lashed back with the knife, slashing the throat of the woman in the stall with him.”
The man, who the pastor described as well-dressed and in his 30s, is apparently the ex-boyfriend of the woman, 32, he attacked.
She was an employee of Turn ‘n Tender restaurant and had been sitting on a couch in the restaurant talking to another man – thought to be her current boyfriend – when her attacker saw her and followed her into the nearby toilets.
Immediately after the attack, the pastor quickly pushed the remaining women out of the bathroom and harm’s way.
“We were in the passageway for perhaps 30 seconds when he walked out, his hands raised as if to be handcuffed.
“I thought he would run but the other man with me yelled at him to get down on the floor. We both tackled him and put his hands behind his back. A crowd had started to gather and people started trying to kick him, shouting obscenities.”
Still horrified by what he had witnessed the pastor had to now protect his captive from a gathering crowd that was growing increasingly hostile.
With his knee in the man’s back to keep him down he told the Courier that he had been suddenly filled with “a strange compassion” for the man.
“I was reminded of Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s words with regards to the guy they called the Modimolle Monster. He asked people not to call the man a monster because irrespective of what he had done he was still a human being. That’s when I started to pray for him.
“When I had finished he turned around and thanked me. I asked him why he did this.
“He said to me that this woman had been his girlfriend for seven or eight years and had just broken up with him. They had a fight and he said he ‘just lost it’.
“That’s when I heard that the woman had passed away.”
The clearly traumatised pastor, who asked to remain anonymous, said he wanted it to be clear that he did not condone what the man had done in any way.
“I feel very deeply grieved for the woman and her family. I cannot imagine what they must be going through.”
The accused, 30, is in police custody and is due to make his first court appearance on Monday.