July 17 2007 at 04:17AM
A Pretoria community has been devastated by the murder of a prominent city businessman who gave his life so that his teenage daughter could live.
Solomon Manie Maritz, 48, was shot on Saturday night while trying to fight off a gang of armed robbers holding him and his 15-year-old daughter at gunpoint.
It is believed the gunmen, two of whom were arrested within hours of the murder, had been waiting at Maritz's home in Constantia Park for the family to come home. They had been attending a wedding.
Maritz, a senior manager at BMW, is believed to have been shot while trying to fight off the robbers, one of whom was holding his daughter around the neck.
'He lived for his family and he died for his family'
Maritz and his daughter, who neighbours and police declined to name, arrived at their home in Andries Strydom Street moments before his wife and their toddler got there. It is thought that Maritz was ambushed as he walked through the garage door towards the patio and into the house.
Neighbours tried to save Maritz's life. They said he kept asking if his daughter was alive.
"Even though he was dying, that was all he was worried about," said one neighbour.
Neighbour Dup du Plessis said Maritz had sacrificed his life so his family could live. "He lived for his family and he died for his family," he said. Another neighbour said the community was devastated by Maritz's murder.
"It is shocking. It is too ghastly to contemplate.
'I am terrified'
"Why do things like this have to happen? Why do these people have to kill and maim for something like a cellphone?" she asked.
The woman, who asked not to be named, said she was getting into bed when she heard gunshots.
She said the screams of Maritz's daughter, who saw her father's murder, would stay with her forever. "They were chilling. They just carried on and on. I will never forget that sound," she said.
"It is terrible. This madness must stop. We simply cannot go on living like this.
"This slaughter has to be stopped."
Neighbour Line Nel said she and her husband were devastated by what had happened.
"I am terrified. These attacks happen weekly.
"Something has to be done to stop them. We cannot live like caged animals anymore," she said.
Nel said Maritz was a wonderful person who loved his family. "I can't believe he is dead."
Garsfontein Community Policing Forum chairperson Nick Pascoe said the killing highlighted how violent crime had escalated in the area.
"I am extremely worried because we are losing people to violent criminals regularly."
BMW spokesperson Guy Kilfoil said Maritz had worked for the company for 24 years. "He was 100 percent committed to his job and 200 percent committed to his family.
"They were his priority and came above anything and everything else," he said.
Kilfoil said Maritz, who was manager of the after-sales department, was full of life.
"He was highly respected, extremely knowledgeable and unbelievably well liked. He was a real people's person."
Police spokesperson Inspector Paul Ramaloko said two men would appear in court later this week on charges of murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition and armed robbery.
This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on July 17, 2007