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'We want to put this behind us and move on': Deacon family as murder trial resumes

Lizette Deacon, owner of the Ocean Basket in the Mall of the North in Polokwane, and her mother Hettie were murdered.
Lizette Deacon, owner of the Ocean Basket in the Mall of the North in Polokwane, and her mother Hettie were murdered.
Image: Facebook / Lizette Deacon

The mourning Deacon family want to put the past behind them and move on. They want to remember the good times and memories they shared with their loved ones, not the brutality of their final moments.

“We are going to miss them tremendously. We were a very close family and had times together which we are going to cherish forever,” Christa Deacon told TimesLIVE.

“We still laugh about the things that happened when we were together and the smallest of things that remind us of them.”

Ocean Basket franchise owner Lizette, 55, and her mother Hettie, 70, were attacked in their Polokwane home on September 10. They were stabbed before being tied up and put in the back of their SUV vehicle. The vehicle was found abandoned next to the R37 between Polokwane and Lebowakgomo on the same night.

Their domestic worker Sophie Mmako, 51, who had worked for the family since 1996, was arrested.

Her boyfriend Lazarus Mahlo, 41, was arrested in Tembisa, Gauteng. Mahlo had worked at the Ocean Basket outlet until recently.

Their co-accused, Casper Mudau, 35, and Advanced Amid, 30, were arrested in Mookgophong and Polokwane on September 13.

All four accused are expected to appear in court on Friday.

In our hearts we know justice will prevail
Christa Deacon

Police are trying to track down a Zimbabwean, only identified as Owen as they believe he might be able to assist them in the ongoing investigation. Limpopo police spokesperson Brig Motlafela Mojapelo said Owen uses the surnames Setsiba, Makutara or Mbedzi.

Christa is married to Lizette's brother, Quinton. The couple lives in Cape Town, where they also own a restaurant.

She said the family attended the first court appearance of the suspects, but would not continue to do so as the trial proceeds.

“The easiest way for us to move on, and to remember all the wonderful times we shared as a family, is not to follow the case. In our hearts we know justice will prevail.

“The case continues and there is a onus on the authorities to ensure justice will prevail, but for us this is the end.”

Pastor Doppie Erasmus described Lizette and Hettie Deacon as “lovely people”.

Lizette was a churchgoer who always treated everyone fairly. Hettie was a lovely person
Pastor Doppie Erasmus

Erasmus said they had been family friends for a lifetime, and that the community was shocked when they found out about their murders.

“This incident rocked the community as a whole. Lizette was one of our church members. She was a very good businesswoman who always treated everyone fairly. She knew what she wanted. She was friendly and a very pleasant person.

“Hettie was a lovely person and also a very good businesswoman. She wouldn’t harm anyone."

Erasmus said he knew Mmako well because she had worked for his wife, Rita, once a week.

She previously lived on their property and Mahlo would often visit her, he said.

“We were shocked but we will have to wait and see what comes out in court,” Erasmus said.


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