The woman who has been convicted for the so-called Krugersdorp murders, Marinda Steyn, 52, told the High Court in Johannesburg on Thursday, the second day of her testimony, that it was not true that she and accused number two, Cecelia Steyn – whom she described as her best friend – were witches.
Cecelia, 37, Zak Valentine, 34, and Marcel Steyn, 20, are in court on accusations of murdering 11 people between 2012 and 2016.
According to previous testimony in court, Cecilia had told members of her alleged ministry, Chosen by God (Electus Per Deus), that she was a 42nd generation witch.
Responding to a question by state prosecutor Gerrit Roberts, who was questioning Marinda on a note she had allegedly written about what should be done to her remains after her death – in particular the words “Electus Per Deus witches” written on the note, she said that she and Cecelia being referred to and calling each other witches had been a long-standing joke.
“When Cecelia and I became friends, my family did not approve. My father specifically said we are like ‘damned witches dancing around fire’. Since then, and that was, like, more than 10-years-ago, we’ve always had this reference and thing between us joking about being witches,” Marinda testified.
She added that other people have called her and Cecelia witches, giving them various labels which they would “mock … because it is not true”.
“If you really are a witch you would not be telling people,” Marinda said.
Roberts further interrogated the witness on the content of the letter, with his questioning focusing on the words “saved or still unsaved”.
“Saved meaning saved in what sense?” Roberts asked
The prosecutor read an extract of the note: “Whatever I own [which] pays out money can be used towards whatever is needed for the Electus Per Deus witches (saved or still unsaved) … and our Electus Per Deus children.”
Marinda said Cecelia’s and her children; Le Roux Steyn, 22, who was sentenced for the murders earlier this year and Marcel, accused number three; are the Electus Per Deus children.
She explained that due to Cecelia having dissociative identity disorder (DID), a multiple personality disorder believed to be caused by childhood trauma, accused number two has different “parts” to her which are the children.
“Some of them are children of God and some of them are not saved, so … the saved and unsaved ones and me, together we form that (Electus Per Deus).
“For me, that was a stupid thing to write down,” Marinda said, adding that it was difficult to explain.
In May, Marinda received a 390-year sentence after signing a plea deal with the state. She was convicted of 11 murders (25 years for each) and 115 years for all the other crimes, which included fraud, racketeering and managing an enterprise, illegal possession of ammunition and firearms, defeating the ends of justice, robbery, and accessory after the fact of murder.