“They have taken the privilege of seeing our son getting married and starting his own family from us.”
Mrs Valerie Jansen van Vuuren, well-known businesswoman, owner of the Antonika photo studio in Carletonville and ward councillor for the DA, sobs as she tells of her son’s murder.
“Someone with such a brilliant mind and a brilliant future ahead of him got taken from us,” she tells of her son, Jason Jansen van Vuuren (34) who was shot and killed in an attempted hijacking on Friday evening, round about 20:00.
Jason, who was the application development director for the IT company Avanade had been in the Cape for business. He flew back to the OR Tambo international airport, just a half hour after he and his friend, Ralph Martinez (who was also flying back to Gauteng) had sat down and had a beer at the Cape Town International Airport together.
When Martinez landed after his flight, he received a text message from Jason’s girlfriend, Belinda, asking for Ryan Jansen van Vuuren’s (Jason’s twin brother) number urgently. He sent it to her.
“We received a call from Ryan,” tells Valerie, “and Ryan asked me to just go and sit down with his father.” “I just got into bed, I’m tired my boy,” was Valerie’s response. “Please mom, just go and sit down with dad.”
As Valerie and her husband, Paul, sat down together in the living room, they received the most shocking news of their lives. “He said, Mom, Jason was hi-jacked, he got shot and he didn’t survive,” Valerie tells, with a look of total helplessness on her face, tears streaming down her cheeks. “Our children are supposed to bury us, not we them,” she cries.
Jason had driven from the airport in his BMW (one his mother and aunt describe as a very sporty, expensive vehicle) to his girlfriend’s house in Crow Thorn, Kyalami. “Belinda heard shots and ran out to the gate, and watched the hijackers flee in the vehicle, and Jason lying on the ground,” tells Ms Antoinette van Vuuren, Jason’s aunt. “This happened round about 20:00 to 20:30.”
Paramedics were called and for 45 minutes they tried, in vain, to resuscitate Jason, but were eventually forced to give up the fight. It was too late, and the shot wounds through his torso had fatally wounded him.
Jason’s car was left and just his laptop and a few other small belongings were stolen from the vehicle and fled with.
“To lose a child is one thing, but to have your son gunned down in cold blood for a car they couldn’t even take just does not make any sense,” Jason’s parents said. “He didn’t deserve to die like this.”
Valerie tells that Jason’s grandmother of 86, just kept saying, “Hoekom nie ek nie, hoekom vir Jays,” when she received the very bad news.
Valerie says, “there are so many beautiful memories and stories to tell about Jason.” Her son was raised in Carletonville, completed his primary school career at Westfields Primary and his high school career at Carleton Jones High School. He then went on to obtain his IT diploma at the Pretoria Technicon.
“My three boys used to fight a lot,” she tells, “But boy oh boy, if someone touched one of them, they would stick together and there would be hell to pay.” She tells of Jason’s speech at his twin’s wedding. “For the first nine months of my life, I had to share space with Ryan,” was how the speech started off. “That was so special to me,” Valerie says softly with teary eyes.
She looks down at the black sandals she is wearing and says, “He bought me these.” She also boasts of the bonsai he bought her for her birthday recently. “He has never bought me a plant,” she says. “He always bought me flowers that would die, but never a plant like this bonsai I got.”
Jason had been living in Fourways for the last five years. Valerie has now taken his two Yorkshire Terriers. “Every time they look at me, it’s as if they’re asking what I’ve done with their dad,” she says.
As the cellphone and landline never stop ringing, sometimes with calls from unknown people in other countries, Facebook is flooded with messages on both Jason and his family members’ profiles.
“Sincerest sympathies to the entire family. There are no words that will make the pain less. We will miss Jason immensely. Ons is almal stukkend vandag. He was one of the most wonderful people I have had the honour to call friend,” “Jason – I solute you for what you have achieved in your life. You were a super-star. I will miss you buddy. RIP,” and “Jason, you were the most amazing guy I've ever known, a great future was waiting for you! Can't believe what happened to you, you didn't deserve it! Not one bit! I'm so glad I got to see you last week when you were in Cape Town, tomorrow night we were supposed to go out again, can't believe I will never see you again! Your life was too short! Rest in peace, I will miss you like crazy! See you one day in heaven!” were but a few of the touching messages left on Jason’s Facebook profile for him by friends, family and colleagues.
“He was wonderful, family-orientated, giving, dynamic gentleman,” his mother describes her son. “Why did they have to kill him, why?”
“I do not know what I’m going to do without him in my life,” said Antoinette, “I am his aunt, but he was also my friend.”
Valerie ends the interview with the Herald saying, “I fight a lot at council and with other political parties and so on, but there is no other town in the world, that can carry a person through a difficult time like this, like Carletonville and its residents can.”
She adds to that, giving special thanks to Dr Julian Jacobson and Ds Toit from the NG church in Vlei Street. “Dr Jacobson and his wife, Ansu, have taken care of us and fed us.” “He also went through to the Hillbrow mortuary so that Paul and Ryan could identify Jason, and I have no idea how they would have done it without him there.”
She speaks of Ds Toit in the same manner. “He has been in and out to see us, and is flying down from Mosselbay to do the service for Jason on Thursday, and refused for us to even pay for his flight ticket back here.”
Jason Jansen van Vuuren is survived by his parents, brothers, sisters-in-law, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and colleagues who clearly loved him dearly.
A memorial service will be held for him at the NG Church in Vlei Street, Carletonville at 11:00 on Thursday at 11:00