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Journo/killer affair, cop hubby and the cash: 'Devilsdorp' questions answered

This true-crime documentary about the Krugersdorp killings has viewers picking their jaws up off the floor

06 August 2021 - 10:12 By Toni Jaye Singer
Cecilia Steyn was sentenced to 13 life terms for her role in the Krugersdorp killings.
Cecilia Steyn was sentenced to 13 life terms for her role in the Krugersdorp killings.
Image: Deaan Vivier

Showmax’s true-crime documentary, Devilsdorp, tells the story of Cecilia Steyn, a supposed 42nd-generational satanic witch, and the devout Christians who tried to save her from the Satanic church.

In the process, Steyn formed a cult-like group called Electus per Deus (Chosen by God), which carried out a four-year killing spree that terrified Krugersdorp and left 11 people dead.

After you’ve binge-watched the doccie — and picked your jaw up off the floor — you’ll no doubt have lots of questions.

For instance, how did Cecilia manipulate others into committing murder on her behalf? Were these the only crimes Electus per Deus might be responsible for? You'll find the answers to these questions in the official companion podcast to Devilsdorp.

Here are the answers to some others you'll likely be trawling the internet for: 

Cecilia shared her now infamous Cosanna flat with her policeman husband, Andries Steyn. Where was he when the supposed satanic attacks were happening?

Journalist Jana Marx, who narrates Devilsdorp, wrote a book about the case called The Krugersdorp Cult Killings: Inside Cecilia Steyn’s Reign of Terror (Lapa Publishers).

In it, Marx explains that Cecilia and her husband lived separate lives and slept in different rooms.

She adds that Cecilia’s husband was always at work on “high nights”, when members of the religious group Overcomers Through Christ (OTC) would come over to protect Cecilia from satanic attacks.

This is confirmed by Cecilia’s former best friend, Candice Rijavec, who also features in the documentary and is a book publisher and website designer.

Rijavec told the Sunday Times that when she first met the Steyns they were on the verge of divorce. In fact, they were undergoing marriage counselling with Ria Grunewald, the leader of OTC.

She recalls that Andries — or Dries as she calls him — tended to mostly work nights at the police station and “kept to himself a lot”.

“He would go to work, come home, play TV games and then go to sleep,” Rijavec explains.

“Dries and Cecilia wouldn’t really interact with each other, and when they did, their interactions were filled with frustration. When Cecilia would ramble on about something related to the occult, he’d shake his head and walk out the room.”

How about Cecilia and Andries’s two young children?

Rijavec remembers instances when the children were present while their mother was supposedly under attack from occult forces.

Their son, who Rijavec says must have been about four or five at the time, witnessed his mother being thrown into walls or bleeding from the mouth during these episodes.

Due to his young age, she believes he was either oblivious to what was going on around him, or was “numb” to such behaviour as it wasn’t unusual for his mother to act like this.

She adds that the Steyns’ infant daughter would invariably start crying, at which point one of the members of the OTC would take her out of the room.

This subject is also touched on in Mother Dearest, the third episode of Devilsdorp: The Companion Podcast, which states that there is evidence that the children were present on some of these occasions.

Are the Steyns still married?

No. According to TimesLIVE, Cecilia and Andries got divorced in 2018.

Cecilia lived in a dingy flat. What did she do with all the money that was given to her by members of OTC or Electus per Deus?

In her podcast, The Best Friend: Chronicles of the Krugersdorp Killers, Rijavec refers to herself as Cecilia’s “ATM”.

She says she started off giving her then best friend R100 here and there, but things escalated to the point where she once paid Cecilia roughly R100,000 over the course of a single month. Later Electus per Deus member and qualified actuary Zak Valentine was also giving her bucket loads of cash. 

Convicted killer Zak Valentine was one of the members of Electus per Deus who would fund Cecilia Steyn's lifestyle.
Convicted killer Zak Valentine was one of the members of Electus per Deus who would fund Cecilia Steyn's lifestyle.
Image: Iavan Pijoos/TimesLIVE

Rijavec believes the cash given to Cecilia by various people was used to buy a motorcycle, quad bikes and new furnishings for her flat. When asked about these purchases, Cecilia would either say she’d inherited some money, been given it by one of her husband’s relatives, or that Andries had got a promotion at work.

She adds that Cecilia would “generously” give money to friends in need — including Electus per Deus member Miranda Steyn — helping to further the perception that she was a good person.

She’d also regularly treat her companions and even random patrons of the bar she frequented to drinks.

Journalist Marizka Coetzer fell in love with convicted murderer Le Roux Steyn while she was covering the trial of the Krugersdorp killers. Are the pair still together?

No, the couple’s two-and-a-half-year relationship started to fizzle out in March 2020 when Covid-19 hit and the subsequent hard lockdown put an end to their prison visits.

Marizka Coetzer's former flame, Le Roux Steyn.
Marizka Coetzer's former flame, Le Roux Steyn.
Image: Iavan Pijoos

“The months of lockdown and not seeing each other was hard on him and our relationship,” explains Coetzer in a News24 article.

“I grew lonely, and the inevitable happened: I met someone,” she adds.

Calling the break-up “hard, messy, and emotional”, Coetzer says that their attempt to remain friends ended when Le Roux also moved on.

Grunewald entered the witness protection programme. How does this work?

According to the Western Cape government’s website, a witness can apply to be entered into the protection programme if they fear for their safety and that of their family.

The witness will be placed under temporary protection as soon as possible and remain there while their application is reviewed. If it’s determined that they need permanent protection, they’ll need to sign a protection agreement.

They and their extended family will then be accommodated in a safe house free of charge and be given trauma counselling. Depending on the witness’s employment status, they’ll either be given an allowance to cover their basic needs or a replacement salary. Other expenses such as medical and transport costs will also be covered.

“Permanent protection doesn’t mean you’ll be in the protection programme for the rest of your life,” the website details. “Permanent protection lasts as long as the threat against you lasts, plus a phasing out period of six weeks, followed by a discharge. The discharge may involve a new identity being created for you and you may be relocated.”