03/12/2007 22:54 - (SA)
Marietie Louw-Carstens, Beeld
Mookgophong - Robbers used pruning shears to lop off four fingers of an elderly Limpopo woman and her husband's life is hanging by a thread after he was repeatedly struck on the head with a panga.
The horrifying attack and plunder of the couple's home lasted for about eight hours.
When Theuns Janse van Rensburg, 72, lost consciousness, his attackers undressed him and placed him on the couple's bed.
One of the attackers lay next to him, watching television for several hours.
Tienie Janse van Rensburg, the couple's shocked son, told Beeld newspaper: "They hacked my father and left him for dead, and my stepmother is shattered."
Tienie said his father's dentures were found on the floor of the passage. One of Hettie's fingers was also lying in the house.
His father had heard a noise outside the 7th Street house about 20:00.
"My dad went to see what was happening and that's when the attackers must have slipped in at the front door."
Saw attacker watching TV
One attacker slashed at Janse van Rensburg repeatedly with his panga. Hettie tried to fight back, but four of the fingers on her left hand were severed with a pair of garden shears. Her right arm was also broken.
Bleeding profusely, she ran to the main bedroom's en-suite bathroom, where she locked herself in and used a towel to stem the flow of blood from her hand.
Her unconscious husband was dragged through to the main bedroom, stripped naked and placed on the bed.
Hettie peeped through the keyhole and saw his attacker lying next to him on the bed, watching TV. The attackers fled about 04:00 on Monday, after stealing bank cards, money, a TV set, a DVD player and a hi-fi set.
None of the neighbours had heard anything.
Martin Schmidt, who lives across the road, made the gruesome discovery about 07:00 when he went over to keep a work appointment.
"Hettie called and asked me to help, because her husband was dead."
He found his neighbour lying on the bed on his back. He was covered with a sheet.
"There was blood everywhere. It looked as if someone had slaughtered a cow. To my surprise, Theuns moved and I saw he was still alive."
Hettie remembered only one man attacking them, but on Monday morning three men who worked at Janse van Rensburg snr's gardening service were taken in for questioning by the police.
Janse van Rensburg was moved to Unitas Hospital in Centurion by helicopter on Monday morning.
He was still unconscious on Monday evening. Kate Cvitanic, a spokesperson for the hospital, said he was in a serious, but stable, condition.
Hettie is in the same hospital, in a satisfactory condition.
Another son, Pierre Janse van Rensburg, said his stepmother looked terrible and was confused.
"My father has a fracture of the skull, where he was hit on the head with the panga."
Dries Joubert, the president of TLU SA North, said the number of attacks on elderly people in Limpopo in recent times had amounted to a low-intensity war.
Farm-stall owner attacked
"Every member of the community must do everything possible to see to their own security."
In another incident on Monday, a woman was attacked in her farm stall in the Mokopane district and had serious facial injuries.
Her nine-year-old daughter called for help with the citizen-band radio.
One of the attackers was arrested at the stall and another between Sterk River and Limburg.
Two more disappeared into the mountains.