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