'I'm sorry for the evil I did': Rashied Staggie's message to mourners at his funeral
"I'm sorry for flooding Cape Town with drugs and for the murders I committed."
This was the gist of a recording made by Rashied Staggie and played at his funeral in Cape Town on Saturday.
The tape was played to a packed congregation at a church in Observatory, where the body of the former Hard Livings gang boss rested in a white and gold coffin.
Earlier, a heavy police contingent stood by on Saturday as Staggie arrived at his home in Cape Town for the last time.
The coffin arrived in London Road, Salt River — scene of the ex-gangster's murder eight days earlier — in a stretched Range Rover hearse with side-opening doors and a rotating platform.
Staggie, 56, was carried into his heavily fortified homefor a private viewing by family members.
Throngs of people came to pay their respects in a street where Staggie held sway for decades — and where his twin brother, Rashaad, was lynched by a crowd of People Against Gangsterism and Drugs protesters in 1996.
The hearse was followed into the London Road by a convoy of luxury SUVs as police monitored proceedings from both ends of the street.
After the viewing, a lone bagpiper played as Staggie’s wife, Rashieda, emerged from the house in tears with one hand on the handle of the coffin.
The coffin rotated slowly on the hearse’s turntable before the doors were shut and it set off for Jubilee Community Church, watched and filmed by numerous onlookers.
At the church, Staggie's friend pastor Ivan Waldeck said: "The family has asked media to respect this moment and leave."
But within seconds he added: "You must thank the Staggie family, his daughter has just approached me and said you can stay but at the back. The world needs information."
Staggie's younger brother, Solomon, was expected to deliver a eulogy.
The order of service thanked friends and family for being there and included a quote from Staggie: "Sien lewe and laat lewe" (See life and let live).
After the funeral service, the body was due to be taken to Manenberg, the Hard Livings’ stronghold, where thousands of residents were expected to pay their respects to Staggie at The Greens sports ground.
The ex-gangster was expected to be buried later at a cemetery in Durbanville.
Staggie was murdered on December 13 by a gunman who fired a volley of shots into a car he was sitting in outside his house.