Bloemfontein - Three men were arrested after an 85-year-old woman was attacked on a farm near Soutpan, Free State police said on Wednesday.
Sergeant Thandi Mbambo said five men attacked the woman on the farm Goedverblijs near Soutpan while her partner was fetching farmworkers on Tuesday morning.
Police said the farmer returned around at 07:00 on Tuesday to find footprints leading to the garage door, which connected with the house.
When he went to the front door of the house he heard screams.
"He allegedly found Kathrina Fourie in the passage bleeding heavily. She had several stab wounds."
Mbambo said Fourie was taken to the Pelonomi regional hospital in Bloemfontein and was in a critical condition.
Neighbouring farmers were alerted about the incident and suspicious-looking men were seen running through the fields in the direction of the informal settlement at Soutpan.
Three men were arrested with the help of farmworkers on their way to work. A laptop computer, two cellphones and batteries allegedly stolen from the farm were found in their possession.
Mbambo said a case of attempted murder was opened and the men, aged 18 and 19, from Bultfontein and Soutpan, would appear at the Brandfort Magistrate's Court on Friday.