Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Farmers want end to 'guerrilla war'

June 27 2006 at 07:48AM

By Graeme Hosken and Janine du Plessis

Farmers east of Pretoria are demanding police step in and end what they call a "guerrilla war" being waged against them by criminals.

The demands come after Cullinan farmer Jan du Preez was arrested when he opened fire on three men armed with handguns and a hammer moments after they attacked him and his family.

Du Preez was at his home on the farm Nooitgedacht with his wife Gerda, four-year-old daughter Anrie and son PJ when they were attacked on Thursday night.

'They know what to look for'

The Du Preez family live with their friends Barry Visser and Riaan van der Merwe and their wives and children, who were also assaulted in the attack.

Their neighbour Andries Benadé was critically injured two weeks ago when gunmen, armed with R1 and R4 semi-automatic rifles, opened fire on him, shooting him in the leg and arm. He spent two weeks in the intensive care unit of Eugene Marais Hospital.

The previous owner of Benadé's farm was shot and killed nearly six years ago in an attack that left two other people dead.

Benadé has blamed the lack of service from the Cullinan police station as one of the reasons why farm attacks are on the increase.

He said he was amazed at the number of attacks in the area. "This happened 300m away from my house, where I was shot twice. I was still recovering in hospital when it happened. There have been a lot of farm attacks, assaults and attempted housebreakings. In the past two months it has been on the increase - there have been four recently," said Benadé.

'It was chaos'

"The police... took over half an hour to arrive after my shooting incident. Luckily most of the people in the region have neighbours nearby who can help or alarms which make the criminals run away.

"The police say these are ordinary robberies, but they are well-planned and professionally carried out. They know what to look for. If they wanted to steal my VW Golf they could have broken the ignition, they did not need to storm my house with an R1 and R5.

"The police are not doing anything about it either. Why must they wait for an attack before they investigate? It will not stop and will continue," said Benadé.

The three families attacked on Thursday were singing karaoke in their lounge when the men burst into the house, kicking down a door and smashing furniture.

Du Preez, who was released on R500 bail after appearing in the Cullinan magistrate's court on a charge of possessing an unlicensed firearm on Monday, said he did not know what was happening.

"One moment we were talking to each other and the next it was chaos with people screaming as these men charged into our house," he said.

Du Preez's wife, along with Visser's wife, managed to lock themselves in a back room, while Visser and his 13-year-old son Marco grabbed Anrie and hid in another bedroom. Du Preez and Van der Merwe apparently tried to fight back, but were overpowered before allegedly being hit with a hammer and whipped with electrical cables.

As one of the gunmen kept watch over the two, his accomplices searched the house for guns and money. The gunmen, who found Visser and the children, fled when Visser attacked them as they threatened to shoot his son.

"I saw one of the men point a gun at Marco and knew I had to do something. I jumped up and punched him before grabbing his gun and hitting him over the head with it," said Visser, who was pistol-whipped by the second gunman.

The attackers ran away without taking anything. As they fled, Du Preez allegedly grabbed Visser's father-in-law's gun from the safe, and fired three shots at the fleeing men. None of them was hit.

Police Inspector Katlego Mogale confirmed the attack and the arrest of Du Preez.

She said because the bullet cartridges had been removed from the scene, the investigating officer had become suspicious about the account of the attack.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on June 27, 2006


Necrophiliac sentenced to life in prison


June 27 2006 at 05:05AM

A Witbank engineering student who shot dead a 17-year-old childhood friend when she refused to have sex with him was on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment.

Themba Mthombeni was given a life sentence plus 15 years in prison on charges of murder, abduction, violating a body, attempted rape and the unlawful possession of a firearm.

Pretoria High Court Judge Mahomed Ismail said the court could not be blinded by Themba Mthombeni's youth or feel sorry for him.

"I am perplexed why a person with so much potential would resort to such horrible crimes.

'A human life was taken as a result of your actions'

"The manner in which you acted cannot be tolerated. A human life was taken as a result of your actions. Society cannot condone or tolerate this type of conduct where people resort to violence for the slightest excuse or provocation," said Ismail.

Emotional family members wept and had to be consoled. They sat in silence in court for several minutes after hearing Mthombeni was going to jail for at least the next 25 years.

Mthombeni earlier admitted that in April 2003 he had forced Thandiwe Masimula, 17, to accompany him to his dormitory room at gunpoint. He shot her in the neck when she refused to have sex with him, before raping her.

After locking her body in his room, he went in search of other victims to rape. He pointed a firearm at two school teachers who passed him in the street with the intention of raping them as well. He fled after one of them sprayed him with mace.

He later returned to Thandiwe's room, where he tried to rape her room-mate, but fled when her screams alerted a neighbour. His young victim's decomposing body was found in his room several days later. Ismail earlier referred to the crimes as "glaringly heinous".

This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on June 27, 2006


Sunday, 25 June 2006

Farmers are not free booty - ACDP

June 23 2006 at 12:23PM

It is time for the government to state unequivocally that South African farmers are not "free booty", the African Christian Democratic Party said on Friday.

"Human life apparently has no value," Casper Nordier, ACDP leader in Free State, said in reaction to the murder of Bainsvlei farmer Flip Heyneke outside Bloemfontein.

"The latest farm attacks countrywide are committed with such cruelty that one cannot but wonder whether the farm attackers do this on purpose to draw more media attention."

Heyneke, 50, was found tied and hanged in a storeroom on his farm near Bloemfontein by his wife on Wednesday night.

Police spokesperson Inspector Harry Nagel said Heyneke's wife discovered his body about 9pm in the storeroom, when he did not return home at 8pm, his usual time.

"His hands were tied behind his back and he was hanged."

The ACDP said at least two people had also been murdered in farm attacks in neighbouring provinces in the past week and another approximately six farm attacks took place in the Free State and neighbouring provinces in one month's time.

"Three of the victims, one murdered and the other two seriously injured, were black farmers or their family members," said Nordier.

He said those who hanged Heyneke had clearly left a message of contempt to government for abolishing capital punishment.

"It had been known for quite some time that South African farmers statistically have the most dangerous career in the world," said Nordier, adding it was time that South African farmers received more credit for their goodwill. - Sapa


Friday, 23 June 2006

Family mourns farmer's death

23/06/2006 09:37 - (SA)

Danel Blaauw, Die Volksblad

Bloemfontein - The family of a Free State dairy farmer are struggling to come to terms with his brutal murder at their farmhouse 20km outside Bloemfontein.

The body of Flip Heynecke, 51, who'd been hanged with an electric cord and strangled, was found by his wife and two daughters.

Wilna Heynecke and her daughters, Odette, 22, and Carin, found Heynecke's bound and bloodied body on Wednesday night.

Heynecke's body had been tied to a large lifting jack inside their weekend home.

The family cut him lose and rushed him to Universitas Hospital in Bloemfontein, where he was declared dead on arrival.

Heynecke farmed on the farm Over-eenkoms about 20km outside the city.

Scenes of grief played out at the house in the Bainsvlei area on Thursday.

'A peaceful person'

While the Heyneckes were still trying to find answers for the senseless farm murder, police launched an extensive search for the killers from the air and on foot.

"My father was such a peaceful person," said Odette. "I can't understand why it had to happen.

I can't comprehend it."

A police airplane and helicopter circled low over the farms, while forensic specialists combed the area and lifted footprints.

Heynecke, who lived in Fleurdal, was a fulltime farmer. He'd been commuting between the city and the farm for the past six years.

He and a neighbour, Faan Schoeman, managed a dairy. "He delivered milk from me at 09:00 and again at 19:00 and 19:15," said Schoeman.

House surrounded in darkness

"When he had still failed to arrive at 19:30 on Wednesday, I became worried."

Schoeman phoned Mrs Heynecke in the city.

She and her daughters immediately drove to the farm and searched around the house and dairy.

"The house was surrounded in darkness. A light was burning at the stables," said the widow.

There was a warm can of milk, and Heynecke's lunch boxes were lying in the footpath.

The search company found strange footprints in the yard and went to investigate at the house.

"Everything was locked up and Flip's bakkie was gone," said Schoeman.

Dawid Claassen, Odette's friend, kicked down the front door and, together with the family, found their murdered father.

"He was tied to a jack and was half sitting, half hanging," said Odette.

"His hands, arms and neck were tied with electric cord. His mouth was covered with brown tape."

Blood was running from his ear, and his hands were bloodied.

"He must have been violently murdered," said Odette.

Farmer hanged, strangled

Captain Francois Laux, acting commander of the unit against serious and violent crime in the Southern Free State, said a post-mortem had indicated Heynecke had been hanged and strangled.

Police were searching for three or four suspects. One of the suspects apparently used to work for Heynecke.

The killers escaped in Heynecke's beige Datsun bakkie with registration number CGH 192 FS.

A microwave oven, cellphone, blankets, mattress and radio were also stolen.


Wife finds farmer hanged

22/06/2006 14:01 - (SA)

Bloemfontein - A 50-year-old Bainsvlei farmer was found tied and hanged in a storeroom on his farm near Bloemfontein by his wife, police said on Thursday.

Inspector Harry Nagel said Phillip Heineke's wife discovered his body about 21:00 on Wednesday in a storeroom, when he didn't return home at 20:00 - his usual time.

"His hands were tied behind his back and he was hanged.

"She took him down and drove him to Universitas hospital where he was certified as dead," Nagel said.

Police said Heineke lived in Fleurdal in Bloemfontein but went to his farm during the day to work.

Nagel said Heineke's bakkie, a beige Nissan 1400, with registration number CGH 192 FS and his cellphone were missing.

No arrests had been made.


Wednesday, 21 June 2006

Wounded wife crawled to toilet

21/06/2006 11:39 - (SA)

Buks Viljoen, Beeld

Carolina - Babs Boshoff, 61, is recovering in hospital after an emergency operation to her hand, which was badly hurt in a bloody attack on her and her husband's farm in Carolina on Monday.

Thys Boshoff, died at about 18:30 on Monday on the farm Boesmanspruit about 50km from Carolina after armed robbers fired two shots with a shotgun through the back door of the house.

He was hit in the chest and apparently died immediately.

His wife Babs's left hand was nearly severed by a bullet while they were desperately trying to bar the door of their farmhouse against armed robbers.

His wife, Babs, 61, was hit in the left hand, nearly severing half of her hand with four fingers attached to it.

The attack on the couple was the fourth armed robbery in a week in a 10km-radius from the Moedig Shool (Thokozani), which was in the news recently after pupils had to gather information about the farms in the area for a task.

'Looked like a battlefield'

Lewis Ellerman was visiting the Boshoff's on Monday night. Shortly after he had left, Boshoff went outside to feed the dogs. He saw two masked men. "He fled into the house and his wife tried to help him bar the door," said colonel Nic Uys, commander of the Carolina commando, on Tuesday.

"It looked like a battlefield. There was blood everywhere," said Uys.

The robbers pushed Boshoff's body, which was lying on the kitchen floor at the backdoor, out of the way in order to enter.

They dragged his wife to the bathroom, where they tied her hands to the handle of the bathtub with a piece of nylon rope.

They stole four firearms from the safe before escaping in the couple's bakkie.

Boshoff's wife apparently managed to untie herself and crawled to the telephone to call for help. She was found hiding in a toilet, where she was holding her badly injured hand in a chamber pot.

An emergency operation was done on her hand at Midmed Hospital. Her condition was stable. Police have launched a massive manhunt for the suspects.

While on his way to help the couple, Captain Marius Burger, station commissioner of Machadodorp police, died after his car collided with a truck while he was on his way to help them.


Farmer too late to save wife

19/06/2006 09:08 - (SA)

Cindy Preller, Die Burger

Sterkstroom - An Eastern Cape farmer who dropped by for a visit may have prevented an attack on a neighbour, but was too late to help the farmer's wife who'd already been killed.

Anna Maria Geyer, 69, was on Friday afternoon killed after her throat was slit by youths in a chicken coop on the farm.

Two men apparently stabbed her with sharp objects - presumably knives. A farmworker, Douglas Tshoki, 53, was tied up with wire next to the coop.

The suspects gagged Tshoki with rags to stop him from calling for help. However, Geyer's husband, Wikus, 70, heard her screams and rushed to the farmhouse, said police spokesperson superintendent Gcinikaya Taleni.

"Nothing was stolen, but robbery as motive for the murder is not excluded. The suspects possibly got a fright and fled," said Taleni.

Two suspects, aged 19 and 21, were arrested on Sunday. They were expected to appear in court on Monday.

Suspects fled into mountains

Nico Smuts, board member for Agri Eastern Cape in this district, expressed horror at the murder. He said the youths sought employment on the Geyers' farm, Dedoorens, earlier on Friday.

"After lunch, Wikus went to the camp to check whether the cattle had enough water. His neighbour, Leon Coetzee, arrived at the farm shortly after the murder with a blesbuck he wanted to give Wikus," said Smuts.

According to Smuts, Coetzee mistook one of the alleged killers for a farmworker and asked him to help offload the buck, upon which the suspect fled.

"Coetzee suspected something was amiss, and with Wikus found Mrs Geyer where she'd been assaulted and had her throat slit. It was an act of Providence that Coetzee arrived on the farm," said Smuts.

According to Smuts, the suspects had told Tshoki they were waiting for Geyer to arrive home so that they could get money from him and kill him.

Smuts said the police where on the scene very quickly, but the youths nevertheless managed to flee into the mountains.

"The incidence of farm attacks in the Eastern Cape is unacceptably high and we're planning a meeting at the show grounds in Queenstown next Wednesday (July 5) to show our dissatisfaction," said Smuts.

Geyer's funeral has been set for 15:00 on Thursday in Queenstown.

The couple were childless and their farm had been offered for sale to the department of land affairs for restitution purposes.


Gallows, demos outside court

20/06/2006 22:48 - (SA)

Jackie Pienaar , Die Burger

Strand - A trailer in a parking bay in front of the magistrate's court here bore a brown coffin, a pole with a torn South African flag and a gallows with a hanged doll.

Next to the gallows was a placard: "I'm a murderer. I deserve the death penalty."

The sight made heads turn on Tuesday when nine men suspected of murdering Joy van Aarde, 78, of Gordon's Bay, appeared in court to apply for bail.

Van Aarde was killed with a meat mallet, apparently shortly before the same suspects attacked and robbed neighbours and also raped a pregnant woman in an orgy of violence.

About 170 people representing all facets of the community gathered behind the gallows and coffin and called for the re-introduction of the death penalty.

Photographs of murder victims

They also expressed their disgust with recent statements by Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula.

"Doen iets of trap self Nqakula" (Do something or get out yourself, Nqakula), read one of the placards.

This was a reference to his statement that white people complaining about the crime situation should leave the country.

"Waar is ons veiligheid en sekuriteit?" (Where's our safety and security?), read another placard.

Photographs of recent victims were displayed to highlight the message.

"Joy van Aarde vermoor. Sy kan nie meer kla nie." (Joy van Aarde murdered. She can't complain any more) read the caption below her photo.

"Edwina moes die land verlaat" (Edwina had to leave the country), referred to two-year-old Edwina Williams who was shot dead.

Just next to it was a photograph of a smiling Megan Herselman, 49, the Cape Town journalist shot dead on a Johannesburg freeway last week.

Hooted in support

Numerous people stopped to photograph the gallows and the coffin.

Many others showed their support by hooting while driving past.

The gallows and coffin tableau was the handiwork of a Strand businessman, who asked to remain anonymous.

He said bitterly: "Someone had to do something. My children are overseas. They've said they're not coming back,"

Wailing sirens announced the arrival of the suspects from Pollsmoor Prison.

When the police van transporting the suspects, accompanied by three other police vans, turned into the road in front of the court, the protesters stormed closer to wave their placards.

"Shooting them dead will be the only thing that will help," shouted one woman following the police vans.

Among the protesters were Oloff Bergh, son of the murdered Van Aarde, and his wife Linde, retired Paarl town clerk Hennie Liebenberg, , former Paarl businessman Hennie van Romburgh, Strand taxi driver George Meyer and pensioners Cornelius and Ann Aspeling of Strand.

Nine suspects in leg-irons

Mrs Aspeling said: "We agree wholeheartedly with what's written on these placards. The death penalty will stop what's happening in this country."

The nine suspects - one from Guguletu and the others from Khayelitsha and all of them in leg-irons - made a brief appearance in the crowded court room.

Magistrate, S du Toit Malherbe postponed their bail application to June 28.

Bergh said the gallows would be there at the next court hearing again. He called on people to protest against crime on that day.,,2-7-1442_1954937,00.html

Farmer slain in Mpumalanga

June 20 2006 at 03:29PM

Two armed intruders shot dead a 66-year-old farmer and wounded his wife in Carolina, Mpumalanga police said on Tuesday.

Thys Boshoff was shot in the face and his wife in the hand as they were trying to prevent the intruders from coming through a door, spokesman Captain Klaas Maloka said.

Democratic Alliance (DA) MPL Anthony Benadie said Boshoff's murder was the third farm attack in the area in the past week.

The DA earlier warned the government that farmers faced a security risk due to a questionnaire circulated at a local school which required pupils to provide "private, confidential and sensitive information" about the farms on which they lived.

Benadie said all three attacks occurred within a 10km radius of the Moedig (Thokozani) Combined School where the questionnaire was circulated.

"The government chose to ignore the warnings and said that there is no security risk for farmers in Mpumalanga and that the DA are being alarmist," said Benadie.

Last Tuesday a black farmer and his family were attacked on their Bonnievoye farm and were still in hospital with serious injuries.

Benadie said the attackers fled with cash.

On Wednesday another attack took place two kilometres from the Moedig School on the Drenthe farm.

"The owner of the farm appointed security guards to look after the farm. The guards, Mr Msiza and Mr Nkosi, were attacked by two assailants who threatened to kill them if they did not tell them where the firearms were.

"The guards eventually disclosed the whereabouts of the firearms and the two attackers fled with firearms," said Benadie.

Two shotguns were stolen which were allegedly used in the attack on Boshoff and his wife.

Leader of the Wonderfontein farmer protection unit Ernst van den Berg said that war had been declared. Farmers would start acting with force to protect themselves against criminals.

"A farmer should rather shoot first with the risk of going to jail and still be alive than try to act according to government regulations and get murdered."

Van den Berg added that if the intruders were simply robbers, as police claimed, they would not have shot Boshoff through the door.

Van den Berg said security on farms had "definitely deteriorated". - Sapa


Sunday, 18 June 2006

Pupils: Robbers were 'visitors'

25/04/2006 22:12 - (SA)

Eduan Roos, Beeld

Johannesburg - Grade 11 pupils at a suburban school had to receive counselling on Tuesday after a gang of robbers entered their biology class, put a gun to the teacher's head and robbed them of cellphones, watches and cash on Monday.

The robbers, armed with handguns, gained entrance to Parktown Boys' High in Johannesburg about 12:45 by making a small opening in the fence around the school grounds.

Principal Tom Clarke said the men walked into the classroom in the middle of a lesson and greeted the pupils "politely".

"The pupils replied, believing they were visitors," said Clarke.

"The 26-year-old teacher (Shelly Lennox) approached them to hear what they wanted."

Clarke said the pupils and teacher received counselling.

"Lennox was even more traumatised than the children. Two of the boys didn't even turn up for school today, and concerned parents have flooded the school with phone calls," he said.

Surprised by their arrogance

Clarke said the school spent nearly R370 000 on security at the school last year.

"We have erected higher fences, installed closed-circuit television, and employed a company to secure the terrain," he said.

"But in the light of the strikes, the security guards are not as efficient as they are supposed to be."

Clarke said he was surprised by the "arrogance" with which robbery was executed.

"It took them less than four minutes before they left in same way they had come," he said.

"We have already received many more suggestions on how to make the school safer, but all these measures cost money.

"That will lead to a further increase in school fees."

Inspector Mosima Mangyani said the robbers fled on foot and nobody had been arrested yet.


Primary school kids robbed on bus

16/06/2006 23:29 - (SA)

Christel Raubenheimer, Beeld

Pretoria - A group of pupils, some of them primary school kids, have been robbed on a municipal bus in Pretoria.

The children - most of them from Stephanus Roos primary school in Sinoville - had just boarded the bus and were on their way home.

Those on the upper deck were confronted by two men.

One of them prevented the kids from going down to alert the driver, while the other forced the children to hand over their cellphones.

Ancabe Krebs, 13, saw that the one robber's jacket wasn't buttoned up.

"I could see a gun.

"He took it out and asked one of the children for his cellphone."

A boy who said he didn't have a phone was hit in the face with the firearm.

"In future, I'll sit on the lower deck of the bus," she said.

Bentie Rademan also warned her daughter Rocehelle, 10, not to sit on the upper deck in the bus in future.

"Our children who have to make use of the bus are soft targets.

"It seems to me we will have to ask for security guards or police on the buses," Rademan said.

Rochelle did not have her cellphone with her.

"I heard a sound like the flick of a lighter and then saw the weapon against the boy's head.

"However, there was no magazine in the weapon - only a gaping hole.

Hanu Krause, 9, said he wasn't too afraid because he was convinced that the Lord would watch over them.

"Most of the children cried when they got of the bus.

"One could see they were stressed," he said.

After robbing the kids, the two men casually got off the bus and sauntered away.


Body of abducted women found

June 15 2006 at 08:26PM

The body of a 56-year-old woman was found in Vanderbijlpark two days after she was abducted during a farm attack, police said on Thursday.

Spokesperson Inspector Trudie Wilken said the body of Jacoba Elisabeth Welhemina Swieger was found by Vaal Rand police in a small-holding area on Thursday.

Wilken said on Wednesday it appeared Swieger had been overpowered by people on her Northdene small-holding on Tuesday night.

"She was then forced into the house where the culprits ransacked the house before making off with household appliances."

"Mr Swieger tried to reach his wife several times at night without success. But when he got home at 6.30am he realised that the door at the back of the house had been opened," she said.

"On closer investigation, he realised his wife was missing, as well as some household appliances."

Wilken said the man immediately called police and it was discovered that the family's Ford Ranger double-cab bakkie was also missing.

Police launched a search for the suspects and Swieger, and found her body in an open piece of veld behind a township area.

The cause of the woman's death would be investigated, said Wilken.

Swieger's 65-year-old husband Andre only discovered his wife was missing when he got home from work on Wednesday morning.

Police were still busy with a "massive hunt" for the suspects. - Sapa


Squatters rob airmen after emergency landing

June 15 2006 at 08:29PM

Squatters living next to an East Rand aerodrome robbed an aviator after his Rans S10 aircraft landed in a dam, Beeld reported on Thursday.

Flight instructor Mirek Zalewski told the Johannesburg daily that he was forced to perform an emergency landing in a Brakpan dam this week because shacks had been erected too close to the airstrip.

He said squatters who descended on the scene stole his student, Mintie Basson's, cellphone and wallet. "I was shocked."

Basson's father said when he arrived at the scene the crowd thumped his car and shouted: "We saved them, give us money." - Sapa


Farm attack victim thought his time had come

June 16 2006 at 12:30PM

By Janine du Plessis

When armed men stormed Andries Benadé's farm, the thought ran through his mind that the previous owner and his son had been killed in a similar attack six years ago.

Benadé, who was home with his wife and two teenage grandchildren, is recovering in hospital from two gunshot wounds and various other injuries. He spoke quietly about what happened on Tuesday night, convinced the attack was not "an ordinary robbery".

The men were armed with an R4 and an R1 assault rifle during the attack at his smallholding in Cullinan.

'I hit him hard with the knobkerrie'

Benadé claims the men wanted to "finish" him off and not only rob them.

His wife Maretha, and two grandchildren, aged 17, were unharmed in the incident.

Benadé told the Pretoria News: "The dog barking woke me up and I heard someone outside. I got up to switch off all the lights in the house. The two men came to my bedroom window at that time. I woke my wife and told her to get out and just as we moved they broke the window with the back of a gun and fired a shot.

"I told my granddaughter to lie very still on the other side of the bed because they wouldn't have been able to see us. They tried to open the door by kicking it and hammering it, but they gave up and went to the kitchen door. My grandson later said it didn't look like it had been forced open, but that they had used a key.

"It was then that I grabbed my knobkerrie and ran to the kids' room (near the kitchen). I found my wife in the passage and told her to call the police and hide.

"It was not a robbery. They came there specifically to shoot me. They shouted at the door that I must open it or they would kill everyone.

"When the first man came through the kitchen, I hit him hard with the knobkerrie and it made him fall back. Then the second man came through. I tried to swing at him but he knew I was there. There was a struggle and I was shot. The first bullet from the R1 went through my right elbow. The second from the R4 hit me in the left calf. My legs were broken.

"I shouted to my wife to let her know I was shot. One of them shoved me with his foot to see if I was dead," said Benadé.

He said he then realised it was not just a robbery. "They said: 'don't worry, he is dead; our duty here is done'. I pretended to be dead. I was in much pain but couldn't make a sound.

"They grabbed my granddaughter and demanded she get the car keys. They demanded she start the car for them and as she was trying to do so members of the Community Safety Police Forum arrived.

No arrests have been made.

This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on June 16, 2006


Thursday, 15 June 2006

Grandfather 'played dead' during robbery

June 15 2006 at 05:16AM

By Janine du Plessis

A grandfather looking after his grandchildren played dead after he was shot twice by robbers at his home near Cullinan.

Andries Benadie, 64, his wife and two grandchildren were at his home on Tuesday night when they heard a noise outside.

While his wife hid with the children, he waited behind the door with a knobkerrie.

Two men armed with R4 rifles stormed the door, shooting Benadie twice, in the leg and in the arm.

The men tied up Benadie's wife and grandson, while the granddaughter was told to open the safe.

Benadie lay still, pretending to be dead, while the men ransacked the house before making off with a pile of possessions.

Benadie was later admitted to the Eugene Marais Hospital. The rest of the family were not hurt.

The chairman of the Cullinan Farmers' Union, Louis Meintjies, said the incident was not like the average armed robbery.

"He (Benadie) was waiting for them. He wanted to fight them, but they shot at him.

"As he lay there pretending to be dead, he said he heard the men saying 'we killed him and it is done now'. It seems they wanted to kill him - an R4 is an army-issue gun," said Meintjies.

"They couldn't find anything much, but took their cellphones and jewellery," he said.

Henri Combrink, a fellow union member involved in the Community Policing Forum in the area, said he heard "quite a few shots" and went to see what was going on.

"When we arrived, they were trying to start the car but they ran away. We attended to Benadie, the police arrived and we took him to hospital."

Combrink said it was the second attack in a year.

"This is also the second one with an automatic firearm.

"These are military and police weapons, which are either being supplied or stolen. We have had a few farm attacks in the past few years," he said.

Police spokesman Inspector Paul Ramaloko said: "The armed robbers stole household goods and personal belongings.

"There might have been a struggle and that was why they shot Benadie twice, or the police interrupted them and they got a fright.

"He is in a serious but stable condition in hospital."

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on June 15, 2006


Thursday, 8 June 2006

'Why would anyone kill her?'

08/06/2006 10:47 - (SA)

Lucia Swart, Beeld

Johannesburg - A 53-year-old woman from South Hills, Johannesburg was overpowered inside her flat, gagged and apparently raped before being suffocated with a pillow and robbed.

Emily Smith was found by a neighbour on Wednesday after burglars had overpowered her inside her flat. They then pushed a piece of foam rubber taken from the couch on which she was lying, as well as a piece of towel, into her mouth.

"It was terrible. I wanted to find out from her whether she wanted to take a bath at our place, when I saw her on the couch with a pillow over her head. Her flat didn't have power.

"When I removed the pillow, I noticed the foam rubber and towel in her mouth. Her face was green. I started screaming and ran outside," said Ronel du Preez, Smith's neighbour, in the Tornaka Court block of flats in Outspan Road.

Du Preez was still shocked about the gruesome find. "It was not pretty to see. And that on an empty stomach. Just look what a large piece of foam rubber they had ripped from the couch," she said.

Du Preez said they heard "strange noises" about 22:00 on Tuesday night. "But I thought it was just somebody passing by. When I found her this morning, I realised it must have been the burglars. What do you think they wanted to steal? There's nothing here," she said, indicating Smith's few belongings.

Ellen Makhuba, another neighbour, said Smith was "a dear woman who would not hurt anybody. She lived here for 14 years and I knew her well. She was very lonely after her husband's death. I can't imagine why anybody would want to kill her."

Police spokesperson captain Cheryl Engelbrecht said Smith might have been strangled to death.

"Some groceries and a hotplate were stolen. Police are investigating murder and robbery."


Wednesday, 7 June 2006

Rape accused 'wanted a white girlfriend'

Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

June 07 2006 at 05:10AM

One of the five men accused of raping a Belgian exchange student was surprised to see a white person attending a street party in a township.

Sibusiso Mkhize had then indicated to his friends his desire to have her as his girfriend. But his friends laughed off the suggestion.

This was moments before the complainant was allegedly kidnapped by 20-year-old Mkhize, together with fellow co-accused Mandla Dlamini. The girl, who was 17 years old at the time, was allegedly then taken to a nearby house, where she was gang-raped.

These events leading to the incident of August 13 last year in Mapetla, Soweto, were related to the Johannesburg High Court on Tuesday by Mkhize's friend Joseph Ledwaba.

Mkhize, Wandile Dondolo, 25, Moeketsi Mokoena, 25, and Xolani Letuke, 24, all of Mapetla, and Dlamini, 25, of Thokoza in Ekurhuleni, have pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping, aggravated robbery and rape. All the accused, with the exception of Letuke, have offered no plea explanations.

In his plea explanation, Letuke, who is linked to the offence through DNA, stated that he had consensual sex with the girl.

Earlier, Inspector Vuyelwa Malange testified that she arrived at the scene in the company of her colleagues. On their arrival, the lights in the house were off and some of her colleagues had stormed the house and came out with three men and the complainant.

The trial continues.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on June 07, 2006


Monday, 5 June 2006

Runner attacked with broken bottle

04/06/2006 22:23 - (SA)

Joylene van Wyk , Die Volksblad

Bloemfontein - A talented long-distance athlete, Eileen Hein, 25, of the Kovsies Athletics Club, has been lucky to thwart possible rape and murder.

She was accosted by a man wielding a broken bottle at Goodyear Park, but she managed to get rid of him by hitting him in the face.

Hein, a biokineticist, was finishing off a practice run when the incident took place on the corner of Zola Budd and Att Horak streets.

She said she saw a man sitting on the pavement about 400m before the end of her run.

Two pupils of Hoërskool Navalsig were running ahead of her.

Hein said: "As soon as the athletes passed the man, he got up and ran after them.

Attacked with broken bottle

"He ran to the opposite side of the road and I stayed on the left side.

"As I was going into the corner, I turned around instinctively and the man attacked me with the broken bottle."

She had five deep cuts - three on the eyebrow, one on the nose and one on the lip.

Hein said the man started dragging her to nearly bushes.

"I hit him twice in the face, managed to pull free and ran to the marathon club."

Hein said she thought the man had intended raping her.

She was taken to a Bloemfontein clinic where the cuts were treated.

Veteran long-distance athlete Zola Budd visited Hein in the clinic on Saturday and gave her a can of mace.

Volksblad athletics writer Rufus Botha, who is Hein's coach, said one of the pupils told him about the incident and he rushed to take her to the clinic.

'Women are targets'

Botha said: "It's shocking that athletes who don't carry anything with them are attacked.

"Women are obviously the targets of these sick, unscrupulous attackers."

Botha said the flying squad did not react to his call.

Police said they were following up information, but no one had been arrested yet.


Photo of victim's facial injuries (Source: News24)

Sunday, 4 June 2006

Monument changes 'akin to grave-desecration'

June 03 2006 at 04:50PM

About 200 white Afrikaners met ceremonially at the historic Women's Monument on Saturday in a bid to ensure that the Monument in Bloemfontein remains an Afrikaner symbol.

The event, organised by the Afrikaner Kultuurbond (AKB) started with the hoisting of the old Orange Free State and Transvaal Boer Republic's flags.

It formed part of the AKB's programme of resistance to stop what they called the "vertrapping" (trampling) of the Afrikaner culture.

AKB chairperson, Theuns de Wet, said any changes to the monument would amount to grave-desecration.

'Monuments testify to our nation's heroes'

Buried at the monument are Free State Republic president Martinus Steyn, Boer leaders General Christiaan de Wet and Vader Kestell as well as British sympathiser Emily Hobhouse.

De Wet said the government was slowly stripping white Afrikaners of their identity in terms of language, religion - and now their monuments.

"Monuments testify to our nation's heroes, our religion and our nation's future hopes. (The possible changes) are an effort to strip us of our identity."

The AKB was concerned over a statement by the Minister of Arts and Culture Pallo Jordan on possible changes to the monument to also accommodate black women and children.

The monument was unveiled in December 1913 in memory of some 27 000 Afrikaner women and children who died in British concentration camps during the second Anglo-Boer War.

Henk van der Graaff, chairman of the Verkenner culture group, said everybody should know that the land on which the monument stood was Afrikaner property.

"This is Boer (Afrikaner) land and there is no place for the Winnie Mandelas, Phumziles and Saartjie Baardmans. This is not negotiable."

He said he have no problem with monuments being built for South Africa's other communities as long as Afrikaner monuments were left alone.

About 30 statements of support from different institutions in support of the perseverance of the monument in its current form were handed to the organising committee.

They are scheduled to be given to the Free State Legislature, which has apparently investigating the possible changes to the monument. - Sapa


Schoolboy stabbed to death in Pretoria

Fana Peete

June 03 2006 at 02:52PM

The scourge of school violence came to Pretoria's CBD on Friday when a teenage schoolboy was stabbed to death, allegedly by a fellow pupil, near the Pretoria railway station.

Both youngsters were enrolled as students at the Bright Future College. The stabbing took place on the corner of Minnaar and Paul Kruger streets just after midday. Reporters arrived at the scene just after the incident.

The victim had been stabbed in the chest and paramedics struggled to resuscitate him, to no avail. He was declared dead a short while later. The teachers at Bright Future College refused to talk about the incident.

However, friends of the victim said the fighting started at school and the attacker waited for the victim near the Pretoria Museum and stabbed him with a knife. He then fled the scene.

Police spokesperson Inspector Anton Breedt confirmed that a case of murder was being investigated. No arrests had been made.

The killing comes a few weeks after the death of Thulani Shisana (15), who was shot and killed while having lunch with friends at Sikhanyisele Primary School in Mamelodi. Shisana's friend Mandla Masombuka (13) was hit in the stomach by the same bullet.

Another pupil, Thulani Soyizwapi (16), died after being stabbed at the gates of Steve Tshwete Secondary School in Olievenhoutbosch - allegedly by a 15-year-old pupil of the same school.

This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on June 03, 2006


Saturday, 3 June 2006

Robbers lie in wait for farmer

07/05/2006 18:05 - (SA)

Johannesburg - A 59-year-old farmer was shot dead and his wife was wounded on Sunday during an armed robbery on their farm at Excelsior in the eastern Free State police said.

Spokesperson Superintendent Motarafi Ntepe said Nico Bezuidenhout died instantly after he was shot in the chest.

According to Ntepe the couple arrived at their property, Damfarm, after church and found five men waiting for them at the farm's tuckshop at 11:00.

She said one of the men then produced a firearm and fatally shot Bezuidenhout in the chest.

She said the gang then demanded firearms and cash from his 57-year-old wife, Belliene. After they failed to open a safe in the farm house, they also shot her in the head.

"They fled the scene in their own vehicle and the couple's bakkie, which was found abandoned between Excelsior and Winburg," said Ntepe.

She said the farmer's wife managed to drive to a neighbouring farm, from where she was rushed to Winburg Provincial Hospital.

Ntepe said the men were still at large and a case of armed robbery had been opened.


Farm couple killed for a gun

30/05/2006 22:49 - (SA)

Sanri van Wyk , Die Volksblad

Vrede - Two killed for one gun - this is the sad fact of the latest eastern Free State farm attack.

Superintendent Veronica Ntepe said on Tuesday morning a cattle herder had found the body of Kobus van Tonder, 78, of Merino farm outside the town.

Van Tonder's body was next to his abandoned bakkie in the veld. He had a bullet wound in his head.

Later, police found the body of his wife, Charlotte, 68, at the back door of the farmhouse. She was probably stabbed to death with a pair of scissors.

The couple's son, Hancke, said his parents had lived on the farm for about 30 years.

Their dog barked hysterically

Ntepe said it was believed the couple might have been murdered at the weekend, and their bodies found only on Tuesday.

On Tuesday afternoon, the homestead appeared deserted, apart from various police cars and a team of police trackers from Theunissen.

Members of the Bethlehem police's unit against serious and violent crime, as well as detectives from Vrede, were at the farm.

Only the couple's dog, Bruno, barked hysterically at the front door.

Hancke had difficulty calming him down.

It was learned the couple did not have permanent staff on the farm, as they used casual workers. They had two employees.

Ntepe said the attackers apparently gained access to the house through a veranda door.

She added it appeared only Van Tonder's firearm had been stolen.


Crime 'not a shame anymore'

02/06/2006 21:13 - (SA)

Bloemfontein - Free State farmers on Friday said violent crimes in rural areas were racially motivated and that in every farm attack the criminals were black.

The farmers told journalists in Bloemfontein they were considering taking the government to court for its failure to provide a safe environment for them in the province's rural areas.

"Crime in all forms is busy ruining the Free State," said Kobus Breytenbach, spokesperson for the farming body's law and order committee.

"These criminal activities in rural areas are unbearable for residents."

Breytenbach said three farm murders and five attacks in relation to robbery were committed in nine of province's districts in the past two months.

Breytenbach said the increase of violent crimes on commercial farmers in rural areas was clearly racist in nature.

'Criminals are black'

"In every farm attack the criminals are black. This trend promotes racial tension and racial hatred."

Breytenbach said the trend must be stopped before things got out of hand.

Even a black upcoming farmer in the Steynsrus region was among those murdered, according to Breytenbach. "(Committing)... .crime is not a shame anymore."

Louw Steytler, president of Free State Agriculture, said: "We have forwarded the contents of statistics of criminality and farm murders in the confines of our province for a legal opinion in regard to a possible class action against the state,"

Steytler said they felt the government was neglecting its duty in regard to the safety and security of farmers in general.

The farming body said there was a silence from the authorities - from municipal level to the President's office - on the increase of violence and crime , and that this was worrying.

"Government leaders on all levels should on a continuous basis strongly condemn attacks, murders and crime," said Breytenbach.

"The brutality and ill-treatment of victims must also be condemned."

Breytenbach said the police's concept of sector policing in Free State rural areas was way behind and needed urgent attention.

Although referring to 'excellent' police work in catching criminals after farm attacks, Breytenbach said the province nevertheless needed more pro-active crime prevention operations urgently.

Steytler said although the state had "miserably failed" agriculture in terms of safety and security the farming community was willing to work with government to address the problem.


Thursday, 1 June 2006

Rape ordeal 'like a porn movie'

25/05/2006 07:19 - (SA)

Jackie Pienaar, Die Burger

Strand - A 25-year-old pregnant woman who was raped during a night of violence in Gordon's Bay said on Wednesday her ordeal "was like a movie, like a pornographic movie".

"Please, I'm pregnant," she pleaded with her rapist. "I don't care," was his response. Then she asked him please to use a condom. He consented and took one out of his pocket.

His first attempt failed because an accomplice intervened. His second attempt, also with a condom, was successful. This time another accomplice looked on, said the petite blonde woman softly.

She added that it was as if everything hadn't yet sunk in - three days after she, fiance Clifford Bacon, 40, his son Calvin, 19, and a friend Michael Billson, 19, were harassed by nine attackers in 5 Milnerton Road.

To her it still feels as if she's acting as a spokesperson for someone else who was raped. Or that she's sitting somewhere on a raft and talking about someone else. She touches her stomach. "But I don't hate them. I have three reasons to be thankful." Her unborn child was safe, her family (the Bacons) was unharmed, and she wasn't raped violently, she said.

"I was raped. I expected it. But my face wasn't beaten to a pulp. All my teeth weren't knocked out. And my child is alive."

Youngest suspect 16?

Two of the suspects had wanted to take her along because they thought she could identify them.

An accomplice came to her rescue, saying she hadn't looked at their faces.

A memorial service for the murdered Joy van Aarde, 78, who was beaten to death with a meat mallet on the same night at a neighbouring house, will be held on Monday at 11:00 at the NG Mother Church, Gordon's Bay.

It isn't certain yet what's missing from her house, but Die Burger learnt that her decoder and a ring had been recovered. Van Aarde's son Oloff Bergh and his wife Linde haven't yet been able to go to her house. A friend arranged to have the house cleaned.

Meanwhile the seven suspects who've already been arrested, appeared - cuffed together at the wrist - in Strand magistrate's court on Wednesday. Magistrate Schalk Engelbrecht postponed the case to 2 June. All the suspects are being detained in Pollsmoor Prison.

The youngest suspect, whose age was given as 16, appeared on a rape charge on Tuesday. The preliminary charges are murder, rape, robbery, housebreaking, theft and assault.

Prosecutor Olivia Oktober stated during the in-camera proceedings that the 16-year-old must be detained in Pollsmoor's youth section because he could easily escape from a place of safety.

She asked that his mother bring an identity document or birth certificate on 2 June because in 2003 he was said to be 16. At that time he'd been linked to theft and a warrant was issued for his arrest.


Race angle to farm killings disturbing

May 31 2006 at 03:20PM

By Sherlissa Peters

Increasingly disturbed by the racial connotation attached to so-called "farm killings", KwaZulu-Natal judge president Vuka Tshabalala on Tuesday handed down a life sentence to one of the men found guilty of the murder of Jacqueline Ivy Chatterton amid shouts of thanks and tears of relief from her friends and family.

Chatterton was stabbed close to 40 times on her Boston farm, Mantshonga, on October 31 last year by Thuthukani Miya and his co-accused, David Ndlovu.

Their trials were separated after Ndlovu pleaded guilty, while Miya maintained his innocence of the murder.

'The residents of New Zealand think we are a brutal people'

Ndlovu was sentenced to life imprisonment in the Pietermaritzburg High Court last week. In sentencing, Tshabalala said the alarming rise in farm killings was giving South Africa a bad name.

"When I was in New Zealand, I watched a television special about South Africa, depicting farm killings in Richmond.

"The residents of New Zealand think we are a brutal people in South Africa. It is deeply upsetting," he said.

The judge said this was extremely bad for the country's reputation and economy.

"For two people to chase a defenceless woman, who is screaming for help, and then stab her all over the place is behaviour so savage and brutal that no factors can justify this conduct," Tshabalala said.

'Jacqui can rest in peace now that her murderers have been brought to book'

Chatterton was stabbed 22 times in the back, thrice in her left lung and six times in her right lung. She sustained a stab wound to the neck, two stab wounds to her left arm, five wounds to her face and one stab wound to the scalp.

The post-mortem showed that Chatterton was stabbed with two different knives: a pocket knife and a larger, fixed blade knife. Ndlovu was previously employed on the Chatterton farm, but left following an alter-cation with another staff member.

Miya told the court that when Ndlovu asked him to accompany him to the farm, he did not suspect anything was wrong.

Miya said he and Ndlovu had waited in the laundry of the farm until James, Chatterton's husband, went outside to walk their dogs.

He said he watched as Ndlovu put a stocking over his head and was shocked when he ran into the house with a knife.

Miya said he subsequently ran inside, closing the door to prevent James from entering the house after he heard Chatterton screaming for help.

Miya said when the woman grabbed his clothing, he was shocked and "stabbed at" her. But after he escaped the house through the bathroom window, Miya burnt his clothes and told family members he had " stabbed the white woman".

Tshabalala said while Ndlovu had a personal gripe with the Chattertons, Miya had no business being on their property that night.

He agreed with state prosecutor Deelan Naidoo, who said it was as if Chatterton had been hunted down by a pack of wild dogs after she was track-ed from room to room, being stabbed 22 times in the back as she fled from her assailants.

A family friend of the Chattertons, Judy Anderson, who has supported the, throughout the court proceedings, said the family were happy and relieved with the sentence.

"Jacqui can rest in peace now that her murderers have been brought to book. Justice has been served," she said.

Chatterton is survived by her husband James, and two children, a son and daughter.

This article was originally published on page 2 of Daily News on May 31, 2006


Two more held for Gordon's Bay murder

Murray Williams

May 31 2006 at 03:28PM

The last two members of a gang suspected of going on an orgy of murder, rape and violence in Gordon's Bay recently are now behind bars, awaiting trial.

And the pregnant woman whom they allegedly raped said she plans to be in court when they appear later this week, to "personally see justice done".

Before allegedly raping the woman, the gang also allegedly bludgeoned her neighbour, 78-year-old Johanna Retief van Aarde, to death - all in the early hours of Monday, May 22.

They allegedly escaped with clothes, appliances, money and a double-cab bakkie.

But they crashed their escape car and police arrested seven suspects within the next 24 hours.

Two men initially remained at large, but police have now arrested two more suspects.

They are 19-year-old Vuyisila Msaseni, who was arrested in Khayelitsha on Saturday afternoon and 22-year-old Siyabonga Zanzele, who was taken into custody shortly after midnight on Monday morning at another house in Khayelitsha.

Both suspects appeared in the Strand magistrate's court on Monday and will now join their seven alleged accomplices in court on Friday.

One of the suspects arrested earlier is 16 years old. The prosecutors will argue why they believe the teenager, who cannot be named, should be kept at Pollsmoor Prison pending his trial.

The other six in custody are Lungile Mayo, 19, Siyathemba Tshanyela, 21, Thembile Ngxowe, 19, Mzamu Ncwana, 18, Simon Lolo, 20, and Thomas Baraza, 22.

Charges of housebreaking, assault, murder, rape, theft, theft of a motor vehicle, and reckless driving are being investigated against all nine suspects.

This article was originally published on page 4 of Cape Argus on May 31, 2006


Belgian student tells of gang-rape ordeal

Siyabonga Mkhwanazi

June 01 2006 at 08:26AM

She had been in the country for only a few days when her world changed - she was gang-raped on what was supposed to be a festive evening in Soweto.

Then only 17 years old and a virgin, the Belgian exchange student had accompanied her host family to a street party in Mapetla, Soweto, on August 13 last year. Her request to use a toilet led to her being kidnapped and raped.

This was how the girl recounted her ordeal in the Johannesburg High Court, where five men are charged with kidnapping, robbing and raping her. Wandile Dondolo, 25, Moeketsi Mokoena, 25, Sibusiso Mkhize, 20, and Xolani Letuke, 24, all of Mapetla, and Mandla Dlamini, 25, of Thokoza in Ekurhuleni, have denied all the charges against them.

All the accused, except Letuke - who is linked to the offence through DNA - have offered no plea explanation. Letuke said he had consensual sex with the complainant.

'If you scream, we are going to kill you'

The complainant said she had attended the party with four members of her host family. At the party she needed to use the toilet, and Mkhize and Dlamini directed her to a house opposite where the party was held.

When she finished, the two were waiting outside the toilet.

"They said they had a friend who wanted to meet me, and I said I wanted to go back to the party. They insisted that I meet their friend, and I went back to the street," she said, adding that they pushed her against a wall and started dragging her.

"I said I don't want to meet this friend. They said 'If you scream, we are going to kill you'."

She told the court that while the men dragged her across the veld, her cellphone rang, but they didn't allow her to answer it. Mkhize and Dlamini then dragged her to a house, but didn't switch on the lights.

'I told them I was still a virgin and they shouldn't do this'

"I started begging them to let me go. They said they would let me go if I give them my cellphone and money. They didn't let me go as promised (after she complied). I told them I'm from Belgium and that the Belgian government will punish them," she said, adding that it was clear to her that they wanted to rape her because they pushed her onto a bed.

"I told them I was still a virgin and they shouldn't do this, but they seemed more excited," she said, adding that Mkhize had held her tight while Dlamini pulled off her shoes and pants.

"He (Dlamini) pulled out my pants and came on top of me. He started raping me," she said.

The complainant said three more men entered the room and one of them came over and started raping her as well.

After a third man started raping her, there were loud knocks at the front door and her assailants left the bedroom.

Mkhize told her to keep quiet and ordered her to put on her jeans. Police then stormed the house and rescued her. Dondolo, Mokoena and Mkhize were arrested at the scene, while Letuke and Dlamini managed to escape.

The trial continues.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on June 01, 2006