Thursday, 15 December 2005

Kneeling farmer 'executed'

15/12/2005 22:30 - (SA)

Marietie Louw, Beeld

Roedtan - A local farmer was forced to kneel next to his bakkie at the gate to the farm Doringfontein before being shot in the forehead.

Hennie van Vuuren, 53, had minutes before found his wife Celia's blood-spattered body when he arrived at the farm after having dropped off workers.

Celia, 53, had been shot dead in the garden in front of their house at about 18:0 on Wednesday.

The attackers did not take anything.

TLU spokesperson Dries Joubert described the attacks on farmers as "low-intensity war".

"The fact that nothing was stolen, proves once and for all that the police are wrong in claiming that the motive is crime."

The chair of the Roedtan South farmers' association, Hendrik Botha, said he and Van Vuuren had been at an auction and year-end function earlier in the day.

According to Botha, Van Vuuren had tried to flee the attackers after he'd found Celia's body.

"But they shot at him and hit him in the leg through the bakkie's door," Botha said.

It is not clear what happened afterwards, but it is believed that the farm's electronic gate opened too slowly for Botha to escape the killers.

"Hennie was pulled from the bakkie at the gate, forced to stand on his knees - in a similar manner to being executed - and shot in the forehead.

"We found his body next to the bakkie," a shocked Botha said.

"This was no farm robbery," said Botha.

"It was murder, plain and simple."

Agri SA's Kiewiet Ferreira said given attacks on farmers, it was becoming increasingly difficult to convince them not to take the law into their own hands.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1851610,00.html

Monday, 21 November 2005

Farmer killed holding his baby

21/11/2005 22:50 - (SA)

Marietie Louw , Beeld

Polokwane - A farmer was shot in cold blood in front of his six-month-old baby daughter and his girlfriend's six-year-old son in one of two farm murders in Limpopo at the weekend.

Billy Meyer, 43, of Lovedale farm in the Mara district near Makhado was shot in the head on Saturday night by a burglar who fled with about R200 and a cellphone.

Shortly before midnight that night, another farmer, John Louis Steyn, 73, was found dead in his house on the Sand River smallholdings between Makhado and Polokwane.

He apparently had been hit on the head with a blunt object and dragged to his kitchen. Only a cellphone was missing.

Meyer's friend, Alida Grobler, 27, told on Monday how Meyer was shot while he was putting their six-month-old baby girl, Christelle, down on the floor.

"She was sitting on her dad's lap and while he was putting her on the floor he was shot," she said.

She was preparing the baby's bottle in the kitchen when the attacker entered through the back door.

Boys started screaming

"At first I thought he was one of our workers, but then I saw the gun in his hand.

"He signalled me to go to the lounge where the children were with Billy.

Her son, Justin, six, from a previous relationship and his brother, Shaun, three, who had been asleep, started screaming hysterically.

"The baby also started crying. I was afraid the man would shoot my children. I told him I would give him anything as long as he didn't shoot."

The attacker demanded money, and Grobler gave him about R200 that she had in her handbag.

He also took her cellphone before fleeing.

Grobler's two sons will receive psychological counselling.

"Last night, my three-year-old wanted to know if the robber would return," said Grobler sadly.

300 farmers in hunt for killer

Stephen Fick, Meyer's neighbour, said the shooting was a tragedy.

"He was a tomato farmer and there are tomatoes ready to be harvested. Who will do it now that he's dead?"

About 300 farmers have been searching with the police since Saturday night for the suspect.

Superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi of the Vhembe police said on Monday nobody had been arrested yet for either murder.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1838196,00.html

Thursday, 3 November 2005

Farmer killed in Magaliesberg

03/11/2005 20:41 - (SA)

Johannesburg - An elderly farmer was shot dead at his home on the farm Doornfontein, in the Magaliesberg, on Thursday, police said.

Two men confronted the 71-year-old farmer, Simon Graff, when he went outside to investigate strange voices at 14:40, said spokesperson Solomon Sibiya.

One of them opened fire on him, fatally wounding him in his chest, he said.

A third man attacked Graff's wife when she then went outside to find out what was going on. She was pulled inside and tied up in the kitchen.

The three men ransacked the house, taking R800 before fleeing into nearby bush.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1828783,00.html

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Tied to dead husband for 19hrs

19/10/2005 23:01 - (SA)

Sarie van Niekerk, Beeld

Nigel - A former farm worker has been arrested in connection with the murder of a 90-year-old farmer, whose wife lay tied to his dead body for nearly 19 hours.

A domestic worker found the injured, traumatised Judith Martinson, 87, at about 14:00 on Tuesday.

She was tied to the body of her dead husband in a bedroom in their house on the Hallgate smallholdings.

Mrs Martinson was admitted to Suikerbosrand Hospital in Heidelberg with multiple injuries, none of them serious.

Her hip, which had been hurt in a fall at their home six weeks ago, had been injured again.

She would not be returning to the smallholding, but planned to move in with her only daughter, Estie, after being released from hospital on Thursday.

Martinson, whose hands and feet were tied with telephone cables and a belt, had plastic and a sheet wrapped around his bloodied head.

Heard calls for help

He apparently died as a result of a severe assault with a blunt object, particularly to the head.

His wife's hands and feet were also tied before she was tied to her husband's body with more telephone cables and sheets.

The domestic worker, who usually came in on a Tuesday afternoon, heard Mrs Martinson calling for help when she arrived.

She peeped through a window and saw her tied-up employer. She ran to the neighbours, who called police and the neighbourhood watch.

A police reservist climbed through a window to untie the couple.

Captain "JP" Botha, a member of the unit against serious and violent crime, earlier said on Tuesday afternoon that some of the family's belongings - a microwave oven, jewellery, crockery and other appliances - had been picked up outside the house.

A safe containing a number of firearms was untouched.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1820090,00.html

Thursday, 8 September 2005

Govt 'involved' in farm attacks

08/09/2005 16:18 - (SA)

Pretoria - The government was implicitly involved in farm attacks, a conference of Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU-SA) heard on Thursday.

"Its involvement lies in its failure to do something," the union's national safety and security committee chairperson Danie du Plessis told conference delegates.

He likened the situation to foreign governments closing their eyes in the 1940s to the Jewish holocaust.

Du Plessis blamed the government's transformation policy for what he described as a slackening of the country's security forces - which he said were loyal to the ruling party and not the general population.

Transformation amounted to lowering the white citizen's position in society and making him submissive to the will of the masses, he said. This also undermined the country's economic prosperity.

The TAU claims a countrywide membership of some 6 000 white commercial farmers.

Crime impacts on farming sector

Du Plessis said a growing crime level spurred on by an inefficient police force, had a huge financial impact on the farming sector.

Stock theft in the year to March 31 amounted to about R230m, and total farming losses due to theft to nearly R750m.

The country's 45 000-odd commercial farmers suffered an average loss of R26 190 in the year due to theft.

Transformation had paved the way for criminal elements and political pressure groups to take aim at commercial farmers and their dependants, du Plessis said.

Deputy chairperson Herman De Wet cited new firearm legislation as an attempt at a "massive disarmament" of the citizenry.

The conference adopted a proposal for amendments to the legislation, which would see existing firearms licences remaining valid until the death of the owner or him being declared unfit.

There should also be no limit to the number of firearms or amount of ammunition a licence-holder was allowed to have, the draft resolution states.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1767352,00.html

Wednesday, 10 August 2005

Zim 'an example for SA' - govt

10/08/2005 16:06 - (SA)

Pretoria - South Africa could learn about land reform from its neighbour, Zimbabwe, said deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on Wednesday.

Many believed South Africa's own process was too slow, too structured and required "a bit of oomph", she told a distance education conference in Pretoria.

"We learned a few lessons from Zimbabwe - how to do it fast," she told the delegates to muted laughter.

"We may need some skills from Zimbabwe to help us."

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/Politics/0,,2-7-12_1752065,00.html

Thursday, 28 July 2005

Zim land reform 'waited for SA'

28/07/2005 19:00 - (SA)

Johannesburg - The Zimbabwe government delayed its land-reform programme so that negotiations for South Africa's liberation succeeded, said President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday.

"They slowed down to get the negotiations in this country to succeed," said Mbeki as he arrived at the land summit without prior notification.

He said that when South Africa was negotiating its transition to democracy, around the time which Zimbabwe had started its land reform programme, the Organisation of African Unity had asked Zimbabwe to stop the programme as it would "frighten the apartheid government in South Africa".

To suggest that Zimbabwe's land-reform programme was marred by corruption was actually wrong, Mbeki said to loud applause from delegates.

Mbeki surprised delegates when he arrived at the land summit at Johannesburg's Nasrec Expo Centre without a hint that he would attend.

"Welcome comrade president," said Blade Nzimande, the general secretary of the South African Communist Party, who was chairing a session when Mbeki arrived.

"You are really welcome to join the summit. It's a very pleasant surprise," Nzimande said as photographers jostled to take Mbeki's picture.

As Mbeki entered the conference hall just after 17:00 delegates burst into song.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/Politics/0,,2-7-12_1745450,00.html

Tuesday, 26 July 2005

'Miracle escape' for farmer

26/07/2005 22:33 - (SA)

Bela-Bela - A farm worker and his accomplices were arrested after they tried to kill the man's former employer, police said on Tuesday.

Spokesperson Gabashane Moseki said Casper Jermia Oukamp of Lekker Breek farm had been at home on Monday evening when he heard his dogs barking outside.

On investigation, he was confronted by three men, one of them armed with an AK-47.

The man shot at the farmer, but the firing mechanism jammed.

The 50-year-old Oukamp was able to overpower the man and kept him at the farm until police arrived.

The two other men were arrested shortly afterwards when police searched the area.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1743819,00.html

Friday, 15 July 2005

'McGyver' boy outwits attackers

'McGyver' boy outwits attackers

15/07/2005 08:46 - (SA)

Marietie Louw, Beeld

Makhado - As brave as TV-series hero McGyver - that's how Limpopo police have described a teenager who narrowly escaped death in a farm attack on Thursday.

Superintendent Ailwei Mushavhanamadi of Vhembe police said the boy had been "very brave".

"He reminds one of McGyver on TV."

On Thursday morning, 15-year-old Frits du Toit freed himself from the ropes that bound him, seconds before the fuel with which he had been doused ignited.

He then jumped through the window to flee his attackers and sped to town on a motorbike.

Frits, of Brakspruit farm near the air force base about 20km outside Makhado, had been apparently alone on the farm on Thursday morning.

Inspector Daniel Ndlovu of Makhado police said three men overpowered Frits about 08:00.

They had been wearing balaclavas and it was not known how they gained access to the farm.

Doused him with petrol

Ndlovu said the attackers took the teenager to a storeroom where they tied him to a chair. They tied ropes around his hands, feet and head.

"Then they doused him with petrol and also poured petrol in the room."

Then the men apparently struck a match and threw it on the petrol before taking off.

Quick-thinking Frits used the knife he had on him to cut the rope around his hands and then his feet.

Ndlovu said the youth jumped through a window in the storeroom.

He ran to a motorbike on the farm and raced to town to his grandmother, Lampies du Toit, who worked at a spares dealer.

Ndlovu said the attackers fled the farm without taking anything. The police are investigating a case of attempted murder.

On Thursday, the Du Toit family did not want to discuss the incident with Beeld.

Gideon Meiring of the Soutpansberg district agricultural union said Frits's escape had been incredible.

"The terrible cruelty used in farm attacks is astounding. The people want to instil fear."

According to him, the attack could not be regarded as a normal robbery because nothing had been stolen.

Murdered on his farm near town

Since last year, people living on farms in the Makhado area had been victimised by attacks.

In October, Martin Armitage, 66, was murdered on his farm near town.

A week later, attackers targeted Gillie Fick and his wife, Sophia, in the Vivo area. A firearm and a vehicle were stolen in this attack.

More recently, in May, a German couple, Werner Viedeck, 65, and his wife, Brigitte, 59, had been cruelly attacked on their farm outside Makhado.

Viedeck's ear had been split with a whip in this attack.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1737932,00.html

Sunday, 10 July 2005

Mom tells of rape 'raid' by 4

15/06/2005 21:58 - (SA)

Carina van Wyk

Germiston - "Everyone in the house is shattered," said a shocked 44-year-old woman after two of her daughters had been raped on Wednesday morning on the East Rand.

"Now, I must be the strong one. It will probably hit me tonight, and then I am going to cry my eyes out.

"But, now I must remain calm and let some sanity prevail in this totally insane world."

According to inspector Thomlyn Jacobs of East Rand police, four men in their early twenties gained access to a garden flat in Koedoe Street, Primrose, about 03:00 by lifting the sliding door out of its frame.

The armed robbers - three had firearms and one a knife - tied up the eldest daughter, aged 24, and her 25-year-old boyfriend, and then took them through the back door into the house.

The daughter's father, aged 55, her two sisters, aged 19 and 17, and one of their boyfriends were all pulled from their beds.

Everyone had to lie on the floor while the robbers searched the house for valuables.

The mother said: "They tied everyone up in the bedroom at the back of the house.

"One of the men took my eldest daughter to the bathroom and another took my middle daughter to a bedroom where they were both raped.

"And, that was after they had promised they wouldn't hurt anyone."

About 05:00 the four men left with two hi-fi sets, six cellphones and a laptop - worth about R50 000 in all.

The daughters' parents are divorced. A neighbour phoned their mother about 05:30 and she raced to the house when she heard what had happened.

Police have arrested a 22-year-old man.

The daughters are on antiretroviral medication.

The mother said: "It's bullshit that such things should happen. How would you feel if you had been raped?"

Source: News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1722082,00.html

Friday, 20 May 2005

Men tried to shoot farmer 3x

20/05/2005 09:51 - (SA)

Cindy Preller, Die Burger

Jeffrey's Bay - "The robbers tried three times to shoot my father, but each time the shots did not go off."

This is according to Hennie Theron who was the first on the scene after armed robbers attacked his father, mother and grandmother on their farm outside Jeffrey's Bay on Wednesday evening.

Theron said the robbers gave up on the gun and decided rather to hit his 59-year-old farther, Fanie, with a hammer in the face.

Theron said the four robbers, who were armed with two guns, a hammer and a club, also assaulted his mother, Ria, 55, and grandmother, Hetta, 87.

The visibly shocked Therons could not speak to the media on Thursday as they were still badly traumatised by the events of the previous evening.

Inspector Marianette Olivier, police spokesperson, said the four armed robbers gained access to the farmstead in an unknown manner at about 20:30 on Wednesday night.

"They threatened the man with a gun and searched the house for money. They stole a cellphone and an undisclosed amount of cash that was in the bedroom," Olivier said.

The Theron family farms with cattle on their farm, Die Erf. Hennie Theron said the robbers made off with more than R60 000 that his father was set to hand over to their lawyers on Thursday.

Mrs Theron, who was tied up by the robbers, managed to untie herself and pressed the alarm's panic button which caused the robbers to flee. Shortly after, Mr Theron phoned Hennie, who lives in Jeffrey's Bay.

"The police arrived at the house in a short time and did very good work," Theron said.

A doctor in the town treated the Therons for their injuries and shock.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1708225,00.html

Sunday, 8 May 2005

Wounded woman fights off armed men

Ingrid Oellermann

May 05 2005 at 09:25AM

A Dundee woman, Joy Scott, 65, amazed her family, community and police when, in spite of being severely wounded, she succeeded in fighting off three armed men who had attacked her and her husband, Vic, 71, on their farm in KwaZulu-Natal.

One of the assailants was shot dead at the scene, another was seriously wounded and the third ran off.

A suspect was arrested and had confessed to his involvement in at least one other farm attack in the district, Dundee Station Commissioner Hennie Botha said on Wednesday.

Botha said police believed the armed trio were responsible for several robberies and attacks in the district in the past eight months.

Joy Scott was recovering in hospital. She has had a kidney and part of her liver removed and suffered damage to her colon, as a result of being shot through the back and stomach during the incident, which happened on April 24.

Vic Scott sustained a minor stab wound to his wrist. Her daughter-in-law, Janine Scott, said on Wednesday that she was "doing well".

Janine Scott said Joy and Vic were working in a shed on their farm, Bloemhof, when the three men approached. The men opened fire on them, shooting Joy, and then attacked Vic with a knife.

Joy reacted swiftly, drawing a handgun and shooting back, in spite of her own injuries. She was armed only because two relatives had been accosted at their farm gate by two attackers with knives two weeks earlier, but the woman and her 11-year-old son escaped unharmed.

"This incident made them (Joy and Vic) vigilant," Janine Scott said. "Joy was lucky to survive. . . she's amazing," she said.

Vic and Joy Scott have lived on the farm for about 25 years.

Their son, Barry, said he was extremely proud of his cool-headed mother.

"She said she knew it was a question of 'them or us' when she looked these guys in the eye. But she just kept a cool head when the shooting started and got out her gun."

He said crime in the area had been rife over the past year.

"We've all had enough. Just a few weeks ago our neighbour, Jaap Lourens, who's 86, and his wife, who is about 82 years old, were attacked. He died two weeks later," he said.

Barry Scott said members of the community had helped police locate and arrest the third suspect.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on May 05, 2005

Source: IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20050505073517216C368366

Monday, 2 May 2005

Marina's night of sheer terror

April 29 2005 at 03:57PM

By Christine de Kock

Beaten, stripped, hanged and left for dead. That's what happened to Marina van der Westhuizen who has made a remarkable recovery since the brutal attack in her home in June 2003.

It is an unimaginable horror that would have caused many people to hide away, but Van der Westhuizen refused to call it quits.

She says her strength is due to the support of her family, friends and colleagues. To thank them, Van der Westhuizen shared her story with the Cape Argus.

The attack happened after a braai at her home in the Lakeside suburb of Klein Wassenaar.

The guests left at about 10pm, and Van der Westhuizen started to clean up.

When she unlocked her security gate to dump rubbish in the dustbin, her attackers struck. She felt a crashing blow to the head, later discovered to have been a strike with a bottle, which left her with 20 stitches.

"There were five guys. I think they had been watching the house for a few hours," she said.

They were carrying bottles of beer, and she believes they were drunk before they started hurting her.

"You would have to be to do that to anybody."

It was the beginning of a long night.

"They dragged me into the house, and beat me."

They punched Van der Westhuizen in the eyes again and again, kicked at her ankles, broke her fingers to steal her rings and cracked her ribs.

"They smashed the back of my ankles so that I couldn't walk," she said.

"They damaged my eyes so I wouldn't be able to see and recognise them in court, I think. I kept saying to them, 'I will remember you, you are going to court.' "

Van der Westhuizen fought back.

"Then I would become unconscious. They would hit me, go and have a few drinks at the bar, and every time I woke up they would do something worse than the last time.

"I think they were going to rape me. They stripped me, but at that stage I think they were too drunk or too drugged to do it."

Van der Westhuizen thinks she passed out nine times.

The abuse continued until 5.30am when her attackers finally wrapped a television cord around her neck and strung her up from the ceiling, leaving her to die.

The men left in her car, taking her electronic equipment, CDs, jewellery and clothes. The car was later recovered.

But Van der Westhuizen did not die. The cord stretched, allowing her feet to touch the floor. She was able to loosen the cord from her neck and crawl to her neighbour's door. The shocked neighbours telephoned her sister, who rushed her to hospital.

Van der Westhuizen suffered severe physical trauma. In reaction, a tumorous cyst formed behind her right eye, which had to be treated with seven weeks of radiation. A cyst also formed above her left ankle which continues to be treated. She has had five operations in the past 15 months.

She admits there have been some dark moments during her recovery.

"But I have incredible support from my family, friends and work. Also help from God above.

"Most of the time I have been on medication - morphine and sleeping pills - I've been in terrible pain.

"But I can now say that since January I don't have permanent pain any more."

Van der Westhuizen, an advertising representative for Outdoor Network in Wetton, says of her employers: "They have been incredible. After each of my five operations I was given a month off to recover. They sent me bunches of flowers, visited me in hospital and phoned all the time to speak to me or my mom.

"When I finally got back from hospital they told me that I had been through a very rough time and should just take things slowly."

Her late boss, Derick Arthur, would ring every day, and other colleagues, particularly Brian Bushnell and Benny Bently, had been very supportive.

"Benny was always there for me. She took a lot of phone calls late at night from me."

The attack has scarred Van der Westhuizen emotionally. It is only recently that she has felt secure enough to walk on the beach and has stopped worrying that she will be stared at if she goes to the mall.

"Now that my eyes have healed no one's going to look at me wondering if 'a boyfriend hit her last night'.

"The attack crosses my mind daily. I think it will always be there, but I just have to find out how I'm going to deal with it and carry on."

Only one of Van der Westhuizen's attackers was arrested. He has been released on bail.

This article was originally published on page 11 of Cape Argus on April 29, 2005

Source:IOL

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20050429114112978C475603

Wednesday, 27 April 2005

Ambulance rape chilling, says judge

Ingrid Oellermann

April 27 2005 at 09:39AM

Three men were convicted in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on Tuesday of having hijacked an ambulance and kidnapped two paramedics in the early hours of February 17 2004, but only one was found guilty of sexually abusing the ambulance crew in what the judge termed "a very traumatic manner".

Sentencing was postponed to May 3.

Thamsanqa Buthelezi, 22, of Mayville, Durban, was found guilty of raping the female ambulance assistant by physically forcing her colleague to perform a sexual act with her, as well as two counts of indecent assault relating to sexual acts he committed while holding the two at gunpoint.

Judge Jan Combrink with two assessors said despite the fact that Buthelezi did not personally have sexual intercourse with the woman, the actions he had forced the male paramedic to perform "in every way" fitted the legal definition of rape.

Combrink said that throughout the ordeal the woman had protested and her colleague had also tried to resist, but they were forced at the point of a gun to comply and were also struck by Buthelezi.

He said Buthelezi's co-accused - Siphesihle Khumalo, 22, and Mbusiswa Zondi, 21, both of Taylor's Halt, near Pietermaritzburg - could not be found guilty of the sexual assaults by Buthelezi because the evidence did not show that they performed any act of association with Buthelezi's conduct in this regard.

In law a bystander - even one who approved - could not be found guilty of forming a common purpose to commit a crime unless he or she performed an act of association, the judge said.

He rejected the defences raised by all three men that they had not voluntarily participated in the hijacking of the ambulance or in kidnapping the paramedics.

Only Khumalo had testified in his defence, and the judge rejected his evidence as palpably false wherever it differed from the version presented by the prosecution witnesses.

Combrink said he had applied the cautionary rule when considering the evidence of the two accomplices to the hijacking, Sbusiso Ndlovu and Simon Seatlana, who were self-confessed criminals.

But he said there was ample corroboration for their version, which tallied with the state's evidence, and there were several other safeguards present.

The judge granted Ndlovu and Seatlana indemnity from prosecution in the case.

Earlier, Combrink described as "chilling" the tale the two men told about how they, the three accused and two other accomplices, Xolani Makhoba and man known as "Landani", had met up and had agreed to drive around the city in search of a Toyota Hiace to hijack in order to satisfy a buyer who had allegedly offered to pay R20 000 for one.

It was plain their plan had not been to merely steal a vehicle, but to rob a driver at gunpoint.

"It was fortunate for some unknown, indeterminate victim that they could not find a suitable vehicle to hijack. It became late in the day and eventually a plan was settled upon to order an ambulance on the pretext of a medical emergency."

The judge found it proved that the first ambulance which responded to a call by the hijackers near Cedara College had been sent away by Seatlana because it was a Ford and not a Toyota Hiace.

Six members of the group, including the accused, then decided to make one more attempt to secure the right vehicle and created another bogus emergency, summoning an ambulance to Pholani Bottle Store in Imbali. This was the vehicle that was hijacked.

The vehicle was eventually stripped of its wheels in a forested area and set alight, apparently in an attempt to remove any fingerprints.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on April 27, 2005

Source:IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20050427082358424C177030

Saturday, 16 April 2005

The most abhorrent act a person can commit

April 15 2005 at 10:58AM

By Joseph Makua

A mother-of-two has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for the death of her newborn baby.

Mokgadi Patience Rathlalane, 31, of Zone 3 in Diepkloof, Soweto, had pleaded guilty to the attempted murder of her baby, who died last year.

Passing sentence at the Johannesburg regional court, magistrate Zacharia Machobane said he was surprised when he discovered on Thursday that the baby had died long ago but the charge had not been changed from attempted murder to murder.

Rathlalane showed no signs of discomfort The prosecution, social workers and the defence in the case failed to explain why the baby's death was not disclosed. The court had not been told that the baby had died two months later, in January 2004.

Rathlalane had pleaded guilty in October last year to the attempted murder charge. She had been in custody after her arrest on the day of the incident in November 2003.

Machobane said that, given that the baby had died, the court was supposed to sentence Rathlalane for murder and not attempted murder. He said it was too late to change the charge, because the court was already sitting for sentencing.

Handing down sentence, the magistrate said: "This is the most abhorrent act a person can commit."

"To give birth in a toilet, throw the baby out the window and then continue with work as if nothing happened!"

"You have two childbirth experiences and your mother helps you with the kids. What then prompted you to kill this one when at least you were taking home R400 per month from the project?"

A colleague who worked with her had testified that Rathlalane had never complained or showed signs of discomfort. At some point, Rathlalane had left the group and went to the toilets. When she returned, she continued with her work as if nothing had happened.

When she got home, she told her mother, who then rushed to the Sivuseni project in Diepkloof.

Upon investigation, the newborn baby boy was found alive with head injuries.

Two years of the 10-year sentence has been suspended for five years.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on April 15, 2005

Source: IOL

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20050415063631554C890607

Two slain in brutal housebreaking attacks

Anil Singh

April 12 2005 at 06:59PM

Two people have been killed in separate attacks during home robberies in the space of two hours in Pinetown.

In the first attack, while Petrus van Rooyen was laying a charge of theft at a local police station on Monday, his wife, Catherine Elizabeth Ferreira, was being brutally attacked and stabbed with a sharp instrument.

When Van Rooyen returned to his caravan on a smallholding he discovered his wife's bloody body. The caravan had been ransacked and a DVD player, car radio and an angle grinder had been stolen.

A distraught Van Rooyen, a mechanic, said on Tuesday that while he was at the Hillcrest police station he received a desperate call from Ferreira to say that a group of men were attempting to rob her.

"When I rushed back to the farm, I found her dead inside the caravan. Earlier on Monday she called me while I was at the workshop to say there was a group of men acting very suspiciously near the caravan. I went to the farm and chased them and they fled into the bushes.

"I then went to the Hillcrest police station to lay a complaint and while I was there I received another call from her to say that the thieves were back. I rushed to the farm but they had already killed her."

Van Rooyen said that last Friday while they were out thieves had broken into their caravan and stolen blankets, a kettle and a microwave oven.

Van Rooyen and Ferreira had lived together for the last three years. She had two children from a previous marriage.

Two hours after Ferreira was killed police were called to Oak Road, Pinetown, after a neighbour discovered the bludgeoned body of Fredrick Esterhuizen, 48.

Police said Esterhuizen, who lived alone in a house, was confronted by three men who tied his hands and legs with nylon rope and then put him in the spare bedroom. He was then repeatedly hit on the head with a baseball bat.

Investigators from the Durban Serious Violent Crime Unit said the house had been vandalised.

It appears that the killers had packed a large quantity of goods into the garage and were in the process of stealing Esterhuizen's car when they fled. Police suspect that they might have been disturbed or were unable to start the car.

Police said it seemed that Esterhuizen put up a tremendous fight with his attackers as there was blood all over the house. He had more then 10 stab wounds.

Neighbours declined to speak about the killing, only saying that Esterhuizen lived alone. He was divorced and had two children.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Daily News on April 12, 2005

Source: IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20050412134719120C908831

Monday, 4 April 2005

Trio execute dad in attack on plot

Graeme Hosken

April 01 2005 at 08:59AM

Two Pretoria children were forced to listen to their father beg for his life moments before he was shot and killed execution-style by three men during an armed robbery.

Pieter Swart, 49, a director at a city engineering company, was overpowered on Thursday along with his 14-year-old son Ferdie and 12-year-old daughter Lisa, while at his home on his smallholding in Kameelfontein north-east of Pretoria.

The three were spending the day at their Rinkhals Street home and were due to meet their mother, Louisa, for movies on Thursday night.

The three gunmen broke into the house after overpowering two gardeners and two domestic workers just after 11am.

The robbers forced one of the domestic workers to take them to Swart where they attacked him, pistol-whipping him before tying him up using ties.

They then forced him and the two children into a bedroom where they bound all three.

The gunmen, who were armed with an assortment of handguns, then dragged Swart out of the bedroom through the house demanding valuables.

It is believed that one of the men forced Swart to beg for his life before he was executed after he refused to show his attackers where the safe was.

Swart's body was found on the steps close to Ferdie's bedroom.

Thursday's was the fourth attack on Swart's home in the past three months and the eighth such attack in the Kameelfontein area since June last year.

Two months ago another smallholding owner and his wife were attacked by a gang of four men.

The man was also shot execution-style. A member of the local commando said crime was out of control in the area.

"Just about every night we receive calls for help from smallholding owners who are being robbed and attacked.

"This place is out of control," said the commando member.

Police spokesperson Inspector Anton Breedt said that police were alerted to the killing after Swart's son managed to call for help from his cellphone.

Ferdie hid his cellphone under his bed when the gunmen stormed into his room.

Breedt said that they were conducting a massive search for the killers with members of the police Airwing, Dog Unit, Flying Squad and Mamelodi and Kameeldrift police stations.

"During the initial search police dogs found a suitcase containing clothing belonging to Swart. It is unknown at this stage if anything else is missing from the house," he said.

Neighbours, who had seen Swart before the attack, said they were shocked by what had happened.

A neighbour, whose property is a game farm, said he had been trying to catch blesbok when the attack occurred.

"I was sitting outside waiting for the buck to walk into my trap when the next moment dozens of police cars came racing up the street.

"When I went to find out what was happening they told me Pieter was dead.

"I could not believe it because the whole time that I was sitting at the trap in the street I did not hear a thing," said the game farmer, who did not want to be identified.

He said the area had become extremely unsafe in the past couple of months.

"This killing just goes to show that the police have to step in and do something about the crime levels in our area," he said. - Crime Reporter

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on April 01, 2005

Source: IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20050401061506935C526371

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

Gang force man to watch fiance being raped

Graeme Hosken

February 28 2005 at 09:12AM

Police are hunting for a gang who abducted a couple at their home and raped and sodomised both of them, before killing the man in cold blood.

The killers forced the man to watch his fiance being gang-raped after sodomising him in front of her.

The gunmen launched the vicious attack on the Pretoria couple moments after they had arrived at their new home in Laezonia, south of the city, during the early hours of Saturday morning.

The couple, aged 19 and 34, who cannot be named because they were raped, had spent Friday evening moving their possessions from their Zwartkops house to their new home near Gomes Sand & Stone on the R114.

The rapists attacked the couple as they parked their bakkie outside their farmhouse.

Forcing the two into the car at gunpoint, the men drove their victims 4km along the R114 to an abandoned cafe and petrol station, where they dragged them behind the buildings.

There they tied up the young woman, who is an epileptic, forcing her to watch her fiance - the father of her eight-month-old child - being repeatedly sodomised.

The attackers then untied the woman and forced the couple to have intercourse before repeatedly raping and sodomising her as well.

As they raped his fiance, the man took a screwdriver from his shirt pocket and attacked one of his rapists, stabbing him in the face and neck, allowing his fiance to flee.

The rapist then shot the man through the back of the neck as he tried to escape, killing him.

The woman, who sustained injuries to her legs and feet while running through dense bushes, managed to flag down a passing motorist, who called the police.

Police immediately began an air and ground search for the killers but were unable to find them.

The woman was rushed to hospital, where she was held overnight before being discharged on Sunday.

Her devastated mother on Sunday night said she could not believe what had happened.

"Why do something so brutal, cruel and inhuman? Why hurt two people who are so loving and had so much love for each other?" she asked.

The mother said about her daughter: "Her spirit has been broken, and all the love and laughter that she had is no longer there."

The mother said that what hurt the most was the way her daughter had been attacked and the way her future son-in-law had been tortured and killed.

"If they were going to kill him, why not just do it? Why play with him like an animal? Why scare him and hurt him like that?" she said.

Police spokesperson Inspector Percy Morokane said rape and murder dockets had been opened.

A team of detectives from the Pretoria serious and violent crime unit are investigating the attacks.

Anyone with any information on the identity or whereabouts of the gangsters should phone inspectors Marius Crafford or Francois Moller on 012-334-4420.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on February 28, 2005

Source:IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20050228063459348C860442

Saturday, 26 February 2005

Gauteng family tells of robbery ordeal

Jonathan Ancer

February 25 2005 at 07:31AM

'I can't stay any longer.

I must go."

These were 36-year-old Coenie Pretorius's dying words to his wife Petro as he lay in her arms. "It's okay," she responded.

Petro, 35, told Magda, Coenie's sister - who was at her bedside in hospital on Thursday - that Coenie looked peaceful as he died.

The tragedy that befell the Pretorius family this week is every family's worst nightmare.

Coenie, Petro and their children - 12-year-old Coenie and eight-year-old Estleen - had just returned to their home in Muldersdrift after a church service.

Coenie, who owned his own construction business, was the under-deacon at the Old Apostolic Church of Africa in Muldersdrift.

And, just like every Wednesday evening, about 15 members of the church had gathered for a bread-breaking service to discuss the weekly Scriptures.

After the service, the Pretorius family stopped off at a café to buy bread, milk and soft drinks before turning into their driveway.

Unknown to them, armed robbers were already inside the home they shared with Coenie's parents, Coenie Snr and Hannah, and his brother Jurie, 29, terrorising the rest of their family.

An employee rushed out to warn them there was trouble, but the warning came too late.

Coenie tried to reverse as a man in a balaclava emerged and fired two shots at the windscreen.

Coenie tried to drive away. As the bakkie lurched forward, the gunman ran alongside, firing three more shots. Coenie, who was shot in the chest, lost control and smashed into a tree. Petro was shot in the abdomen.

Twenty-five minutes earlier, Jurie - who lives on his own with a separate entrance at the back of the house - had made the same 5km journey. But he had left the church with a pistol pointed at his head.

On Thursday, Jurie, Magda and Coenie Snr were at the plot, reliving Wednesday's horrible events.

The three talked about the ordeal that started when Jurie closed the church after the service.

With him at the church gate were fellow parishioners Eugene and Elsie Pienaar. Watching them from a field across the road were four armed men.

"I closed the gate, and when I turned around, there was a gun in my face. Someone was pointing a gun at Eugene's head," Jurie explained.

The attacker ordered him to lie on his abdomen. "They demanded that we give them our wallets and jewellery."

The attackers ordered Eugene and Elsie to climb into Jurie's car. Eugene was loaded into the boot and Jurie was told to drive home.

"If you've got a gun at your head you'll drive to hell and back. I took them to my place at the back, hoping they would take what they wanted and leave. But they wanted to go into the main house."

Jurie and Elsie were marched to the main house, while Eugene was left in the boot.

The men wanted Coenie Snr's jewellery. The 56-year-old father on Thursday pointed to his fingers, where rings had been pulled off.

"I'm like Liberace, that's my way. They pulled off my rings, my Krugerrand medallion and my arm chains. They pulled off more than R30 000 in jewellery."

They took Coenie Snr's ties and shoelaces, bound the four hostages and began ransacking the house.

"I heard five gunshots. I didn't know what was happening. Then I heard a car race off and a big bang. I looked at my watch - it was 9.20. I decided to wait five more minutes to make sure it was safe to go out," Jurie said. During this time, the children began screaming.

Jurie rushed out and found his sister-in-law cradling his brother.

"It was the worst. My big brother lying on the ground. I checked for vital signs but I couldn't feel anything. We decided to rush him and Petro to hospital. The children were praying aloud."

"The paramedic examined Coenie and said: 'Sorry, sir, there's nothing to revive.' I went back to the bakkie and took Petro's hand. She looked at me and said: 'I know'."

When they arrived at Olivedale Clinic, Jurie took the children aside and broke the bad news to them.

Yesterday he flicked through family photos of his brother and Petro with his children. "Lots of people looked up to him. I did. He was a wonderful person."

The gunmen had fled in Jurie's car with Eugene still in the boot, later abandoning the car in Lanseria.

Eugene bashed the boot with the car's jack and wheel spanner to free himself.

Police Superintendent Milica Bezuidenhout said that after an extensive search of the area, a suspect was arrested about midnight.

"After questioning the suspect and following leads, six other suspects were arrested before daybreak. A 9mm pistol was seizedand jewellery was found in their possession."

"There is to be an ID parade, but if they are not identified in the parade, it doesn't matter. We found stolen goods in their possession," said Bezuidenhout.

The seven suspects were due to appear in the Krugersdorp magistrate's court on Friday on charges of armed robbery, murder, attempted murder and kidnapping.

Petro was in a stable condition in hospital on Thursday night.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on February 25, 2005

Source:IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20050225064938234C609461

Monday, 21 February 2005

300 students trash Tuks campus

18/02/2005 06:52 - (SA)

Hilda Fourie and Delia du Toit

Pretoria - The notorious slogan, "One farmer, one bullet!", was chanted by demonstrating students on Pretoria University main campus on Thursday afternoon.

The demonstrators were from the Pan-Africanist Students Movement of Azania (Pasma).

The group was demanding lower class fees and financial support to underprivileged students.

The demonstrators also demanded that buses be provided to transport students from Atteridgeville, Soshanguve and Pretoria Central.

The group of about 300 was taken to the main campus by bus from Mamelodi campus.

They left a trail of overturned refuse bins on the campus.

A female student was allegedly hit with a branch from a tree when she tried to stop demonstrators from overturning a rubbish bin.

She was taken to hospital for treatment.

'Started pushing us around'

The demonstrators also threw a brick through the window of a lecture hall.

A security guard, who was inside the building, was slightly injured.

Rudolf Bredell, a students who was in a lecture, said: "They swore at us and we were told to get up and get out.

"When we refused, they started pushing us around. We felt threatened."

Tensions ran high at a later stage when other students formed a barricade around the demonstrators in an effort to force them off the campus.

Pasma last week handed a memorandum containing "observations and demands" to the university management and asked that they get a report-back by Thursday.

The uproar started because the students were unhappy about the reaction by the university authorities to their memorandum.

The university said in a statement that, among other things, financial support was being given to needy students and that its admission policy did not discriminate on a racial basis.

Professor Chris de Beer, deputy rector, said: "The insinuation that the university is using financial exclusion for racial purposes is rejected with the contempt it deserves."

Edited by Iaine Harper

Source: News24.com
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1664179,00.html

Sunday, 20 February 2005

We will kill the whites, all of them

Graeme Hosken

February 19 2005 at 10:41AM

Police have promised to take "appropriate action" to ensure that any planned protest by the radical Pan Africanist Student Movement of Azania (Pasma) takes place in a peaceful and lawful manner.

In reacting to threats by Pasma to bring violent protests to the main campus of the University of Pretoria after burning tyres and barricading gates at the university's Mamelodi campus on Friday, Captain Piletji Sebola said police were concerned with the manner in which the protests were being conducted.

"We will not just fold our arms and watch. Where there is lawlessness we will react and arrest those responsible.

"We are prepared for any pending protest march and we hope this protest will be conducted within the parameters of the law," he said.

Sebola said they would not underestimate the possible threat and are warning protesters that if they become a law unto themselves then they must expect drastic action to be taken.

"We will kill the whites, all of them; Afrikaans and English," rioting Pasma students and their leaders at the university's Mamelodi campus chanted on Friday.

Students barricaded gates with burning tyres in an effort to prevent police from gaining access and dispersing the crowds.

Screaming "revolution is the only solution" and "kill the police, burn their cars", more than 200 students charged around the campus tearing up the university's flag, burning tyres and damaging trees.

Intimidating journalists and threatening to kill them if they covered next week's planned riots in a "biased manner", Pasma leaders tried to prevent the Pretoria News from speaking to the campus's Student Representative Council (SRC) and South African Students Congress members, grabbing notebooks and cellphones in attempts to stop interviews with the "pro-white organisation".

"We know that you white journalists are biased. "You do not report properly on our cause and only cover white students' complaints. On Monday we will give you enough white students' complaints to cover," vowed Vusi Mahlangu.

Mahlangu, deputy secretary of the Gauteng Pasma regional office, promised that blood would flow at the university's main campus in Hatfield.

"We have had enough of racist students and their lecturers who profess to have our interests at heart. We are tired of being discriminated against because we cannot pay the fees and because we are not passing.

"We feel that this discrimination, which is leading us to fail our courses, must be stopped - with violence if needs be," he said.

Mahlangu said they had tried negotiating with the university's authorities but this had failed, leaving violence as their only recourse.

"If we cannot study because of these limitations, then nobody else should be allowed to," he said.

He also threatened that they would disrupt all classes at the university.

Mahlangu said the demonstrations would be carried over to all the other universities in the country until "all racists had been removed from the institutions".

Pasma spokeperson Mametlwe Sebei said they had tried to remain peaceful in their protests but this had proved fruitless.

"We will become violent with the rightwing student groups and will fight the Afrikaner groups with fire and blood.

"We will take violence to all the white students and their lecturers and to any other bodies which do not support our movement and its demands," he said.

Sebei said the protests had to be continued until everybody had an opportunity for an education "aseducation is not exclusive".

An SRC leader, who asked not to be named for fear of being attacked, said they did not support Pasma's actions.

"We are all in the same boat with the fee hikes, but this is not the way to solve the dispute," he said.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on February 19, 2005

Source: IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20050219103803315C822723

Friday, 18 February 2005

Leigh's final moments

Nalisha Kalideen

February 18 2005 at 09:17AM

At last, if the police are correct, we know how Leigh Matthews died - naked and shot in the back of the head.

And we know when she died - soon after her father had handed over a R50 000 ransom on the night of her kidnapping.

And we know where she died - in the cold, in a lonely stretch of veld far from her home.

This is the scenario presented by the prosecution in their indictment against the man accused of murdering Leigh.

Donovan Moodley is accused of kidnapping, extortion, robbery with aggravating circumstances and murder.

His appearance in the Wynberg magistrate's court in Johannesburg on Thursday was overshadowed by the document which outlined Leigh's final moments.

Moodley's story, if the police are correct, begins on July 6, 2004 - a Tuesday - when he booked himself into the Formula 1 hotel in Bramley Park, Sandton. The budget hotel was the base from which the then 23-year-old man planned to "kidnap and murder for ransom".

Every day, for three days, he drove from the hotel to the Bond University campus in Sandton.

On the third morning, Friday July 9, at about 10am, somehow he came across Leigh. She had been in classes and, according to her mother Sharon, was on her way to meet with her to finalise purchases for her 21st birthday party that Saturday. The theme for the party was "Pirates of the Caribbean".

It is still unknown why Moodley chose Leigh as his victim.

According to the indictment, he pretended to be a student and asked her for a lift.

Described by her father Rob as a "gentle soul" and by her classmates as "an angel", Leigh didn't refuse.

No sooner had she left campus, according to the indictment, when Moodley held her at gunpoint.

He forcibly took the wheel and drove Leigh to an unidentified park in Randburg. It was there that he tied her hands and feet with masking tape and blindfolded her by pulling a balaclava over her head. He then shoved her into the back of her Toyota Tazz and drove back to the university.

Moodley, police claim, had parked his own Tazz at the back of the university earlier that day.

He made Leigh get into the back of his car and took her to the veld somewhere near Walkerville, south of Johannesburg.

No one knows how long Leigh waited, bound, until her mother Sharon called her. Moodley, the indictment says, answered the phone and told Sharon he had kidnapped her daughter.

Sharon's first response was disbelief. She thought it was a joke. But she became hysterical when she realised what had happened.

Rob then called Leigh's cellphone and spoke to Moodley. According to the indictment, Moodley demanded a ransom of R300 000, threatening to kill Leigh if he did not comply.

Rob immediately raised the money and late that evening Moodley called him back.

"It was agreed that Mr Matthews would pay a ransom of R50 000" to secure Leigh's release.

He drove, as instructed by Moodley, down the N1 towards Bloemfontein. He was supposed to meet Moodley at 8pm at a split in the road, but in his anxiety, drove too far.

He drove past the Grasmere toll plaza. Moodley called him and instructed him to turn around and drive back. Rob stopped at a bridge close to an Engen filling station on the road and "had to flash the headlights of his vehicle thrice".

He waited a while, oblivious to the fact that his daughter was nearby, bound and gagged, hidden in the back of a car very similar to her own.

Finally there was a tap on the back window and Moodley instructed Rob to drop the ransom from his car window, which he did.

Moodley took the money and instructed Rob to leave. Moodley then drove Leigh to the veld near Walkerville, not far from where her body was finally found.

He told her to undress completely. When she had done so, according to the indictment, he handed her a blanket and told her to "turn her back to him and to cover herself".

According to the indictment, "he shot her at point-blank range in the back of her head, behind her left ear". Leigh fell to the ground. Police believe Moodley dragged her into some bushes. He fired three more shots, one into her neck and two into her chest - all at point-blank range.

He left her body with the blanket, but took the jeans and jersey that Leigh had been wearing, as well as her underwear.

He also took her handbag and its contents, as well as her 21st birthday ring and cellphone back to the Formula 1 hotel, where he slept for the night.

He booked out the next day and took Leigh's possessions and his clothes and set them alight in the veld near his home in Brakenhurst, Alberton.

A few days later, Moodley returned to the veld to retrieve Leigh's tanzanite ring.

It was that Saturday when the desperate Matthews family called the police for help. They went to the media and made a desperate appeal to the kidnapper to return their "little girl".

"Please, please give her back," Rob pleaded.

The family refused to give up hope and continued their vigil, but their worst nightmare came true when a municipal worker found Leigh's body 13 days after her kidnapping.

Moodley was arrested on suspicion of abducting and murdering Leigh, 87 days after she disappeared on October 4 last year.

Moodley will be tried in the Johannesburg High Court on July 25.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on February 18, 2005

Source: IOL

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=13&art_id=vn20050218072213872C814817

Tuesday, 15 February 2005

Three jailed for Zululand hammer slaying

Chris Jenkins

February 14 2005 at 01:08PM

It was a murder that shocked and outraged the close-knit community of Mtunzini. Nearly two years later, two young men - both first offenders - were sent to prison for life.

A third accused, a juvenile who also had a clean record, was jailed for an effective 17 years by the Circuit High Court sitting in the Zululand coastal village on Friday.

Sikhumbuzo Mthethwa, Sicelo Mpungose and a 17-year-old youth sat in the dock with their heads bowed as Judge Leona Theron found them guilty of the murder of Allan Howarth, 47, and the attempted murder of his wife, Linda, during a robbery.

The couple had fallen asleep watching television in their Siyayi Drive simplex on the night of April 11 2003 when they were attacked.

Howarth was brutally bludgeoned with a hammer and died in hospital six days later. His wife was stabbed in the chest with a long knife and suffered other injuries.

The intruders, who had gained entry through an open patio door, made off with cellphones, sound equipment and a gold chain.

Deterrence, retribution and prevention were paramount in the case, Prosecutor Dorian Paver said when asking the court to hand down life sentences to Mthethwa and Mpungose, who were 18 when the offences were committed.

Theron said it was a sad reflection on South African society that the most violent, heinous and brutal of offences were committed by young people.

In the Howarths' case, the inescapable inference was that the three accused, who lived with their parents near Mtunzini, must have prowled the streets of the village that night looking for easy targets.

As a result of their actions a person's life had been taken. And the wounds and scars inflicted on Linda Howarth were not just skin deep. It was clear from her testimony, during which she broke down a number of times, that she was still battling to come to terms with the attack, the judge said.

Dressed in black, Howarth, who had flown out from the United Kingdom, where she now lives, sat in the public gallery throughout the week-long trial.

Although there was a strong suspicion of his involvement, a fourth accused, Khulekhani Mbatha, 22, was acquitted because of insufficient evidence.

This article was originally published on page 5 of The Mercury on February 14, 2005

Source:IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=vn20050214071614462C783343

Swazi king buys 10 luxury cars for his wives

February 13 2005 at 04:09PM

Mbabane - Swazi King Mswati III has purchased 10 new BMWs for the royal household - two months after buying a super-expensive sedan for himself while his subjects continue living in abject poverty, a newspaper reported on Sunday.

Africa's last absolute monarch spent some five million emalangeni (R5-million) on BMWs for his wives, the Mbabane-based Times Sunday reported.

"It is true that new cars have been purchased for emakhosikati (queens) to his majesty... This is basically an upgrade of the ones they have been using," the chief executive officer of the king's office, Roy Fanourakis, told the newspaper.

This comes after it emerged in December that Mswati had bought himself a $500 000 (about R3-million) Daimler Chrysler flagship Maybach 62 as his debt-ridden country continues battling Aids and crippling poverty.

The car features a television receiver, dvd player, 21-speaker surround sound system, refrigerator, cordless telephone, heated steering wheel, interior pollen and dust filter, golf bag and sterling silver champagne flutes.

The 36-year-old King Mswati is no stranger to controversy and frequently hits the headlines with stories of the lavish lifestyle he leads with his 11 wives and two teenage fiancees.

On his birthday in April last year, he bought 10 BMW seven series vehicles for himself and some of his wives. This year he is expected to spend some six million emalangeni (about R6-million) on his birthday party on April 25.

He is also building 10 new palaces for his wives at a cost of 100 million emalangeni.

Swaziland's government owes its suppliers more than 150 million emalangeni which dates back to 2002 and the country's budget deficit stands at 800 million emalangeni.

Swaziland, a small country wedged between South African and Mozambique with a population of one million, has the highest Aids rate in the world at 38,8 percent and about a third of the impoverished nation relies on food aid for survival. - Sapa-AFP

Source: IOL

http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=68&art_id=qw1108299241409B224

Monday, 14 February 2005

Adapt and die - South Africa's new motto

By Dan Roodt.

During the time of National Party reforms in the seventies and eighties, the cliché "adapt or die" used to do the rounds. Nowadays, given the highest murder rate in the world, this should be modified slightly to read, "adapt and die". For the endemic social violence in South Africa is probably incurable.

Optimists think that violent crime can be solved through better policing, more efficient courts and more secure prisons. Even assuming that such improvements were possible under conditions of hard-core affirmative action, it must be admitted that criminal justice treats the symptom and not the cause of social violence. The Department of Correctional Services, for one, has lost 496 out of 500 former Deputy Directors since 1994, representing most of the intellectual capital in the department. Newcomers may learn their job properly, or they may not, but they have to be flown to overseas countries to find out how prisons work as most of those previously involved in managing our prisons are no longer there.

South Africa used to have a problem of political violence. It was not as bad as elsewhere in Africa, but for some reason elicited hysterical international condemnation. However, actors in political violence are mostly driven by some sort of creed or belief system. Whether such a person is a communist, an anarchist, a neo-Nazi or an ethnic or religious guerilla fighter, he is usually amenable to persuasion or compromise. Even a group of Muslim suicide bombers might declare peace if they were given a territory in which to set up an Islamic theocracy, governed only by themselves and not subject to any outside influence.

In the same way, South Africa's so-called liberation movements who were at one time fanatically convinced of the need for violent and bloody revolution, laid down arms and bombs upon being told that F.W. de Klerk would surrender power unconditionally. Solving political violence is often intractable, but not impossible.

Not so social violence. Endemic crime, the breakdown of the social fabric, a sense of drift regarding norms of good conduct, point to a far deeper problem. The freedom fighter or urban terrorist is ultimately rational, despite a value system that normal society might find idiosyncratic.

But what is "normal society"? It is only the sum-total of behaviours prevalent in any given society at any given time. The Aztecs, infamously, practised daily human sacrifice to appease their sun god. It might revolt many of us today, but to them it was entirely normal. South Africa currently sacrifices about 87 humans per day to violent crime, or 32 000 per year. Those are only the ones who actually die. Scores of others are injured, maimed, traumatised, robbed, raped, burgled and so on.

In any suburb today an entire history of murders, hijackings, and other violent events can be written, if only the locals were narcissistic enough to consider their own history worth recording for posterity. On the other hand, social violence lacks the charm and grandeur of political violence as it is usually not committed in the interest of some glamorous cause like national liberation or world revolution but simply to acquire some hapless person's BMW or rape his wife because she happened to be inside.

However, some time ago a Johannesburg newspaper engaged in chronicling some local history in the suburbs of Westdene and Lakefield in Benoni. Nearly every resident had a story to tell, an entire litany of mayhem. Mr. John Gee miraculously survived a shot through the eye, but now feels traumatised. His wife says, "One lives in fear in one's own home. One does not sleep. One prays for protection, yet only more fears come."

But who are the authors of South Africa's social violence? Even asking this question presents one with a sense of discomfort, because most violent criminals in South Africa are young black men between the ages of 16 and 36. As one surgeon who had stitched together at least three child rape victims, two of whom were infants, said recently, "Probably white men commit such acts too; it is just that no-one in South Africa has come across such a case."

Of course, it would be preposterous to say that all young black men are prone to violence. Judging from our daily experiences in crime-torn South Africa, however, a sub-section of that population, large enough to cause more havoc than even a well-equipped guerilla army of a few thousand men, has taken up practices such as heists, hold-ups, murders, sexual violence exacted upon women and children, and so on.

Explanations for such deviancy are manifold. The ubiquitous answer of it being due to apartheid might have been satisfying if other African societies never subject to group areas and a homeland system did not display similar traits. The Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone come to mind. There is a whole nature/nurture debate around black violence, except that no adherent of the "nature" side would publicly admit to being one, for fear of being branded a racist. Even though mainstream American cancer research has conclusively shown that black men have higher levels of testosterone than their white counterparts, few would hazard the notion that this might be linked to their greater propensity for violent crime.

America has a gargantuan prison population of two million, over half of which consists of African-Americans. This is despite their minority status in the USA, comprising only 12% of an overall population amounting to 290 million. South Africa could neither afford nor succeed, given the dire state of our criminal justice system, in jailing a similar number of black male offenders. Currently, only 10% of murderers in South Africa get arrested and only 6% are convicted. Any murderer therefore has a 94% chance of getting away with it.

If by some miracle all serious criminals in the country had to be caught and imprisoned, the prison population would surely treble or quadruple from the present 200 000, which is already high by world standards. Not only is such an improvement inconceivable under current conditions, but it would also be politically unpopular with the ruling ANC who would be incarcerating large numbers of young black males who are mostly its own supporters at the polls. Few whites, if any, commit violent crime and there are only 3 900 of them in prison, mostly for white-collar offences such as fraud or insider trading on the stock exchange.

All that remains in the world's most violent society, is precisely to adapt and die. Twice as many South Africans of all races now die of murder than of road accidents - even though the road accident rate is also the highest in the world, surpassing that of Turkey. Crime extends to trade in driver's licences, so that a large number of drivers use so-called "bought licences", hardly a contribution to road safety.

There are some people naive enough to think that "something can be done about crime" in South Africa, mostly opposition politicians who dream about diverting funds from arms procurement to policing, but this would be futile. There are already three times as many private security personnel as state-employed policemen, and even they do not succeed in containing what has become Africa's only peacetime killing field.

"I killed them because they were white." These famous words were spoken last year by William Kekana, who participated in one of the most horrendous incidents in which the entire family of Mr. Clifford Rawstorne was wiped out, consisting of his fiancée, baby, as well as his own mother. Even this massacre of an entire family would not have made headlines, were it not for the fact that one year-old Kayla was executed on her very first birthday with a shot in the head. Needless to say, the two adult women were first raped before being killed. Both William Kekana and his accomplice, Charles Fido Baloyi, fell into the high-risk group of young black (and Coloured) males who commit almost all violent crime in the country.

South Africa actually has a Minister of Safety and Security, which to some might seem like an example of absurd humour. His Excellency Mr. Charles Nqakula, whose official résumé proudly states that he was once "a waiter and wine steward", has immortalised himself by euphemistically stating that there was no real crime problem in South Africa, except that it was "a little on the high side".

All in all, South Africa has got remarkably used to its new-found status as the crime capital of the world. The high-rise districts of Hillbrow and Berea in Johannesburg have been officially designated by Interpol as having the highest murder rate in the world, that is, 600 people per 100 000 population members per annum. Consider for a moment that such a figure represents 12 times the rate found in inner-city ghettoes in the United States, often seen as no-go zones by many Americans.

One British immigrant to South Africa who has survived three car hijackings, refuses to emigrate, stating that he is now accustomed to having Kalachnikovs pointed at him from point-blank range. Everyone knows a relative or friend who has been killed or at least subjected to some form of violent crime, and no South African can remotely imagine a society where people do not live behind razor wire, electrified fences, high walls, burglar bars and similar decorative props.

Outsiders might find our lifestyle bizarre, but many pundits in South Africa consider our society to be much more "normal" now than at any time in the past, which was tarnished by ethnic separation albeit without the present large-scale violence. At the height of segregation and apartheid under Hendrik Verwoerd, South Africa was almost as peaceful as Switzerland but she was immoral. Today we are the apotheosis of racial morality and political correctness, yet as violent as the Congo or Liberia. Surprisingly, however, our economy continues to function amid the carnage. No economist has ever studied this as far as I know, but not only is crime our biggest industry - bigger than gold-mining or manufacturing - it also stimulates consumption as stolen goods are replaced; it is a boon to the insurance and security industries and ultimately makes surgeons and undertakers rich. The government earns billions of rands in Value-Added Tax on stolent goods being replaced with new ones. So crime pays.

News about killings or shoot-outs no longer elicits the slightest surprise. It is part of our daily existence, and one assumes the lethal risks attending to something as simple as going shopping or driving to work. My wife, for example, has twice been to the local shopping centre where in the one instance a shoot-out was taking place in the parking area so that she had to hide between the cars with our 18 month-old son in her arms; in the second case an armed robbery had just taken place with the robbers casually strolling by with their guns and their loot.

Everyone knows someone who has been killed, raped or maimed. Just this week, the wife of a friend and former literary editor of Die Burger, François Smith, was stabbed to death with a screwdriver in their home in Wellington, near Cape Town. Her murderer was a 16-year-old squatter camp resident whose race was omitted by the press but presumably few, if any whites, reside in his particular squatter camp which is dedicated to black Africans. Lisbé Smuts-Smith was a well-known academic and head of the Afrikaans literature department at the University of Cape Town. Just two weeks ago, another UCT academic, mathematician Brian Hahn, was attacked by a former student, dr. Maleafisha Steve Tladi (35). Hahn died in hospital a week later, while Tladi was released on bail of R500 (about $80).

Two years ago Louw Rabie, a brilliant albeit reclusive geologist and brother of author Jan Rabie, was beaten to death with a fence pole by two Coloured men to whom he had lent some money a week earlier. Police in the small Cape town of Montagu readily caught his murderers because they happened to have drinking money during the week, taken from his home. He was 80 years old, but in good health. He is reputed to have been one of the most brilliant geologists and intellectuals this country has ever produced, writing copiously throughout his life but disdaining publication and public esteem. Africans with their oral tradition are fond of saying that "when an old person dies, a library burns down". What strikes me about the relentless killings of educated whites, is that the criminals are indeed "burning down the libraries" of this country and physically exterminating the intellectual class, much like Pol Pot did in Cambodia. The media are celebrating youth, dance, colour, being black and exuberant - as opposed tothe quiet studiousness of middle-aged and elderly whites, the bearers of knowledge and understanding. Are these learned whites who are being killed in exuberant, paradisiacal outbreaks of violence simply the remnants of a civilisation that is being eradicated in the name of decolonisation? No government spokesman has ever condemned such killings; so we may assume that the present regime is completely indifferent to them, where such killings do not enjoy their tacit support.

Around our local school in the past week there have been two car hijackings, as well as one murder. It is not really considered to be an exceptionally violent area. Most of this is not even reported in the press, because there really is not enough space and ordinary crime is no longer newsworthy. It needs some further sadistic element to make the front page, such as babies getting killed or raped, or elderly farmers being tortured to death. Farming in South Africa is now arguably the most dangerous profession in the world with more than 1600 farmers murdered since 1994, often in macabre and dehumanising ways.

To the outside world, white South Africans are congenitally evil. If our murderers and rapists had been white and their victims black, Europe or the United States would long ago have sent an expeditionary force to put a stop to it. At present, news of white suffering in South Africa inspires the occasional yawn in Western capitals. This is why a recent article in The Despatch, detailing the rape of a dog by three black men, gave me some hope that a chord will be struck somewhere in the coolly indifferent breasts of our fellow-Westerners. Even if the lives of Louw Rabie, Brian Hahn, Lisbé Smuts-Smith, Kayla Rawstorne and tens of thousands of others are of no value to them, perhaps they will take pity on the mongrel bitch in Grahamstown that was recently raped by three black men. Or perhaps two black men, as the third one protested his innocence upon being dragged out of the shack by screaming, "I came here to relieve myself. These two were raping the dog when I arrived!" Cruelty to humans, especially white humans, is today a normal feature of our society, just like human sacrifice used to be in the culture of the Aztecs. Cruelty to animals, or non-consensual sex with dogs, may still evoke some sympathy, not only locally, but also internationally. I therefore feel sorry for Masganda - the name of the dog concerned - who was rescued with a bleeding vagina and in need of veterinary attention, but perhaps this lowly creature of uncertain lineage could become a martyr for our cause in alerting opinion-makers and political leaders of our plight.

Cycling has become a popular sport in South Africa. However, its practitioners regularly get shot at by gangs of black youths in the street, so that many of them carry guns and knives for self-defence on their bicycles. Members of the Johannesburg mountain-bike club were outraged a while ago when two cyclists, Scott and Lloyd Griffith, were charged with murder after an armed battle with their four black assailants, one of whom succumbed to his wounds.

Most of the time, however, whites are helpless victims of crime. The government has recently passed a new gun law which makes it difficult, if not impossible, to own a fire-arm. They have also abolished rural commandos of military reservists entrusted with crime-prevention in the country, without any police units replacing them. Occasionally the newspapers carry stories of crime victims successfully defending themselves against attacks, offering armed resistance. As a result of the new gun law, this will soon end and we shall simply be able to hide or flee from our assailants. Defending oneself against a marauding robber or rapist might be a manifestation of racism, and is therefore frowned upon as being a kind of "right-wing" response.

Being robbed of one's vehicle or household belongings is now considered quite normal, and often people ascribe escaping with their lives to their own astuteness, such as being friendly to the robber, helping him load the effects into a vehicle, not looking him in the face so as not to recognise him afterwards, et cetera. A friend of mine in Kempton Park kept up a reasonable conversation with the thieves emptying his house, tied up as he was with a gun pointed at him. He survived, although his elderly mother was badly roughed up and had to be hospitalised. In other instances, of course, people are not so lucky and they become just another murder statistic. Then they simply adapt and die.

The first draft of this article was submitted to the British Spectator, who turned it down about a year ago. I have now updated it with references to more recent incidents. Probably no mainstream newspaper in South Africa will publish it, because it refers to the race and gender of violent criminals, which is taboo here as elsewhere in the Western world. As George Orwell said, however, "during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act".

In the interest of drawing attention to the anarchy that exists in South Africa, the author qualifies his copyright on this article and invites everyone to post it on his or her website, copy it and mail it to friends and mailing lists, translate it into other languages and to distribute it far and wide. The only condition is that no element must be changed or censored.

A PDF-version of the article which can be printed out, photocopied and distributed otherwise than on the internet, is available for download on the home page of www.praag.org.

Dan Roodt is an Afrikaner author and activist.

Source: www.praag.org
http://www.praag.org/rubriek137.htm

Friday, 11 February 2005

Man made to watch gang rape

10/02/2005 21:44 - (SA)

Nkosana ka Makaula

Nelspruit - A husband was forced to watch as four men raped his wife just two weeks after she miscarried a baby.

Only one of the suspects was arrested and he pleaded not guilty to rape and armed robbery in Nelspruit regional court in Mpumalanga on Thursday.

Sifiso Mubi, 34, said he was nowhere near the scene of the crime, but forensic evidence submitted to the court matched his DNA with semen found on the woman.

The couple was walking past the Why Not Tavern in Tonga, south of Malelane, on their way to a night vigil on August 14 last year when they were attacked.

They claim Mubi had a gun on him and that they were taken to a secluded area where the husband was robbed of his hat, R60 and wallet, while his wife was robbed of her jewellery and R80.

She was stripped naked and raped on the ground while her husband was forced to watch.

Wife pleaded for mercy

Her husband calmly told the court how his wife pleaded for mercy as she had not recovered from the miscarriage.

He said that when he tried to struggle free, he was stabbed in the ear with a sharp object.

He said Mubi convinced one of the rapists not to steal his shoes and the four men then fled.

Mubi was arrested two weeks later and has been in custody.

The case has been postponed to April 28 for more witnesses to be called.

Edited by Iaine Harper

Source:News24.com
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1660634,00.html

Saturday, 5 February 2005

Gunmen attack farmer

05/02/2005 13:37 - (SA)

Johannesburg - A Marble Hall farmer was shot at and robbed of his car and an undisclosed amount of money while driving into his farm's yard, Limpopo police said on Saturday.

Two gunmen, who it seems were waiting for the farmer to arrive, tried to stop him as he was driving into the property on Friday around 15:00, Captain Malesela Ledwaba said.

He said the two men started shooting at the farmer when he did not stop, hitting him in the leg.

He eventually stopped.

The two gunmen took the farmer's white 2.5 Isuzu bakkie and an undisclosed amount of money.

The vehicle's registration number is DCN 783 N.

The farmer is in a stable condition at a local hospital, Ledwaba said.

The incident happened in the Elandskraal policing area.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1657991,00.html

Sunday, 16 January 2005

Body of missing nine-year-old girl found

January 15 2005 at 02:02PM

The body of a nine-year-old girl has been found, with her tongue and private parts removed, in a nature reserve in Ubombo in Northern KwaZulu-Natal, police said on Saturday.

A 14-year-old boy, who was seen with the girl before she disappeared, admitted that he had been present when she had been killed when police questioned him on Friday, said Captain Tienkie van Vuuren.

A 45-year-old woman was also arrested. She told police that she had wanted to give the body parts to a witch doctor in the area.

The body of the girl, who was reported missing on January 2, was found at the Ezineshe Nature Reserve in the Mandlazi Area in Ubombo.

The two will appear in court soon. - Sapa

Source:IOL
http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_id=1&click_id=15&art_id=qw1105780862745B265

Wednesday, 12 January 2005

Man dies in farm attack

12/01/2005 10:18 - (SA)

Polokwane - A man was shot dead and his wife was wounded when robbers broke into their farmhouse while the couple were sleeping early on Wednesday morning, Polokwane police said.

Police spokesperson Inspector Ntobeng Phala said the man, his wife and daughter, 9, were asleep when four attackers apparently entered the Sterkloop farm in the Polokwane district.

The man was shot in the chest and died instantly. His wife was shot in the leg. The daughter escaped unhurt.

"We cannot be sure what was taken as the house was ransacked," said Phala.

The police found a television set that appeared to have been dropped by the intruders on their way out.

The mother and daughter were taken to a local hospital for medical care and treatment for shock.

Any witnesses can contact Captain Valley Maboyi of the serious and violent crimes unit on 082-565-8151.

Source:News24
http://www.news24.com/News24/South_Africa/News/0,,2-7-1442_1646148,00.html