Family demands answers from SAPS

Ferrel and Harriet Taljaard hold a photograph of their son Darren, who disappeared almost two years ago.

Members of a Hangberg family are demanding answers from police after their son and brother disappeared almost two years ago.

In August 2016, Darren Taljaard, 34, went missing after being seen walking with two acquaintances in the direction of Duikersklip. The two men returned to the community without him, according to the family, which has strong suspicions he was murdered.

Mother Harriet Taljaard said she had repeatedly questioned the men, but all they had told her was that he was “weg” (gone), and never provided any more details.

“I have given the police the names of the people he was with, but nothing has happened. No one has ever been arrested. When I’ve gone to the police station to follow up, they tell me the people I’ve mentioned will be rounded up and questioned, but nothing has happened to this day,” she said.

Ms Taljaard said in his younger days, Darren had been in trouble with the law. He spent four years in prison in Tulbagh for theft.

“But when he came out, he was a changed person. The only problem is that Darren was a person others could control and he was easily influenced. He had a soft heart.

“I think poachers were forcing him to get involved in illegal fishing, and he would be beaten if he didn’t go along with them.”

Every day since his disappearance had been a nightmare for the family, Ms Taljaard said.

“At night I stand by the window looking out to the sea, thinking I might see Darren. His father’s heart is broken, and his younger brothers are having a very tough time.

“At the time of his disappearance, he had just had a baby girl. She was only a month or two old. The mother of the child, who is now two years old, is really struggling to bring her up without Darren’s support.”

She said she knew Darren had been murdered.

“I know he is dead. But I want someone to bring his bones to me so we can bury him with dignity, and the family can have some closure. At least we can have that.”

Hout Bay police station commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Khuthala Nebhisi, said detectives were still investigating and following up on all leads.

“Any members of the public with any information regarding his disappearance is encouraged to report it to Hout Bay SAPS,” she said.