Monday, 31 July 2006

Mass release of SA convicts likely - expert

Tony Carnie

July 31 2006 at 07:00AM

The periodic mass release of South African prisoners will continue for several years because the country is unlikely to "build itself" out of the problem of overcrowded jails.

This is according to American sociology and criminal justice researcher Dr Susan Smith-Cunnien, who has been studying the issue of overcrowded prisons and mass prisoner releases in South Africa and the US.

The University of St Thomas (Minneapolis) researcher told the World Congress of Sociology in Durban last week that the US and South Africa had among the highest rates of incarceration in the world according to a recent United Nations survey.

The US topped the list and currently locked up nearly 738 out of every 100 000 citizens (almost one in 100 people), while South Africa had the 23rd highest incarceration rate in the world, at 344 prisoners per 100 000 citizens.

The world average is about 187 prisoners per 100 000 people.

In drawing comparisons between the two countries, Smith-Cunnien said the US had a total population about six times larger than South Africa.

Whereas South Africa currently had 240 correctional service facilities and 190 000 inmates, the US had about 2,1-million prisoners in more than 5 000 federal or state prisons, or confinement centres.

South Africa had a murder rate of about 40 victims per 100 000 people, whereas the US murder rate was about five victims per 100 000 people.

Rape rates in South Africa were more than three times higher than in the US. The burglary rates were similar, but the theft rate in the US was almost twice as high as in South Africa.

Smith-Cunnien said one of the inevitable results of high crime rates in both countries was prison overcrowding and periodic mass releases of prisoners.

In South Africa, the prison population had grown enormously between 1995 and 2000, partly because of an increase in crime and partly because of a surge in the awaiting-trial population.

In July 1998, about 9 000 prisoners were released early to coincide with former president Nelson Mandela's birthday, and in September 2000 the government announced it would release 11 000 awaiting-trial prisoners, with another 7 000 prisoners getting early releases.

In July 2003 the Correctional Services Department announced plans for the early release of another 7 000 prisoners, while another 18 000 prisoners were released in June last year.

There had been similar mass releases in the US in the past 30 years, although prisoners were released in smaller batches from individual jails rather than in system-wide releases.

By the 1980s, overcrowding was so severe in parts that some states passed emergency release laws.

The US also saw a huge surge in prison populations, with inmates increasing from 500 000 in 1980 to more than 2-million in 2004. This was attributed to new minimum sentences and a surge in drug-related convictions.

Apart from mass releases, the US had responded with a major programme to increase the number of prisons between the 1980s and 1990s.

Further mass releases were unlikely to happen in the US, she said, but were likely to continue in South Africa as a matter of necessity until the country was able to establish a new, more informal community correctional system.

"While the South African government has been willing to invest in prison construction and renovation, the reality is that other issues facing the nation - education, health and family support - are more pressing than those faced in the US.

"Thus from a financial perspective, it is unlikely that South Africa could 'build itself' out of the prison overcrowding system even if that should be the path it would prefer."

This article was originally published on page 5 of Pretoria News on July 31, 2006


Sunday, 30 July 2006

This is hijacking, SA-style

The average hijacker gets away with more than a hundred violent crimes before he is caught. His ill-gotten gains are not enough to make him stop, and after serving time in prison he will hijack again.

This profile is drawn from the findings of unreleased research. Rudolph Zinn, of Technikon South Africa, a lecturer in forensic investigations, spent three years doing in-depth interviews and collating the information for his master's dissertation. Democratic Alliance safety and security spokesperson Douglas Gibson said on Monday that he intended bringing the contents of the Zinn report to the attention of Safety and Security Minister Charles Nqakula.

'They have no problems with witnesses and a total disregard for the police'

However, despite having commented on Zinn's findings, Gibson said he had not read the report himself, and was hoping to have a copy soon. Zinn, who was unaware of the DA's intentions to forward his research to the government, said he intended passing it on to the police so that it could be used for intelligence-driven investigations.

He said he had drawn the information from hijackers themselves, interviewing inmates who had no apparent reason not to disclose information. "I started out by going to prisons in Gauteng. I wanted to interview convicted hijackers and asked for volunteers. I ended up interviewing a sample of 30," Zinn said, adding that the majority had served between nine and 18 months of their sentences. "If you try to talk to them before they have served nine months, they are focused on an appeal.

After that they are desperate and will do anything to co-operate. But after 18 months they have seen too many impimpis (informers) 'taken out' in prison and they also aren't interested in talking," said Zinn. 'They know nobody will try to stop them and they believe they will get away with it'

According to the research, most hijackers belong to syndicates and target specific cars to fill standing orders. "They will wait at a traffic light during peak hour. They have no problems with witnesses and a total disregard for the police. They know nobody will try to stop them and they believe they will get away with it," Zinn said.

A typical tactic used by hijackers is to force the driver to get out of the car at gunpoint - 98 percent of the perpetrators are armed. "They say they like to use a pistol because of the sound it makes when you cock it. It terrifies the victim, especially at night," Zinn said. "They want their victims to quietly submit and plead for their lives.

They shoot if the victim doesn't follow their instructions immediately. The moment they can't see the victim's hand, they will shoot rather than take the risk that the person is going for a gun." A small percentage of hijackers would shoot the driver no matter what the circumstances.

"They prefer to shoot the victim outside the car so that they don't have to clean it later," added Zinn. "They wear no gloves or balaclavas and make no attempt to disguise themselves.

They get rid of the cars fast. Within five hours the vehicle is 'dumped', which is the term they use. Within eight hours the car has been reassembled or fitted with new seats or parts so that it cannot be identified." Zinn said his 540-page report would be made available to the police, insurance companies and other interested organisations such as tracking companies.

Take a look inside his head. This is how a motorist should respond to avoid falling prey to hijackers. These guidelines are derived from the interviewees' comments and advice. Always be observant and take notice of people who stand near your car. If they are hijackers, they will rather look for another target because they know that you are on guard and can drive off or take out a firearm.

Take note of any young people sitting or standing on the pavement near your home because young hijackers sometimes pretend they are only sitting, eating or playing soccer. If you suspect anything, you must trust your instincts and drive on past your home while keeping watch on their reactions.

When arriving home, make sure there are no unknown people in the vicinity before opening the garage door or gate. When approaching your parked vehicle in a parking lot, take note of any suspicious-looking people loitering nearby and walk past if anything appears to be out of the ordinary. Some hijackers try to give the target vehicle a light bump from the rear.

As soon as the victim gets out to inspect the damage, he or she is held up at gunpoint. Before a driver stops at an intersection, he or she must take note of people standing around at traffic lights or stop streets or pretending to be selling something. Take note of people at all points of the intersection. The driver must show them they have been seen. They will probably rather go and look for another target because they know the driver is on guard.

Some hijackers dress as beggars with a noticeboard around their necks advertising that they need money or work. As soon as you open the window to give money, you could be hijacked. Therefore, keep the vehicle in first gear and be prepared to make a quick getaway.

Drivers should avoid areas with high levels of crime and should be safety conscious in all their actions and in the planning of their routes and parking spots. Drivers shouldn't give lifts to people they don't know. Truck drivers in particular are led into ambushes by prostitutes who get them to stop at deserted spots where the hijackers arranged to wait for them.

Drivers who pull off the road to speak on their cellphones are at risk. The majority of the hijackers (83 percent) were generally in agreement that anti-hijacking systems, immobilisers, alarms and other electronic equipment did not serve as deterrents when it came to the selection of a target vehicle. They said that if these systems were, for example, advertised on the windows of the vehicle by means of stickers, it would lead to the driver being taken hostage along with the vehicle.

The reason being that if the vehicle cuts out along the way as a result of the installed system, the driver can be forced to deactivate it.-The Star

Source: South Africa The Truth

World alert on SA crime

July 29 2006 at 05:46PM

By Tash Reddy

South Africa is not a safe place to go on holiday - it's official. Major Western countries are warning their clients and citizens that a holiday here could be very dangerous and now international insurance companies are acting as cautionary choruses to prospective tourists.

Norwich Union, an insurance company in the United Kingdom, undertook a survey based on their clients' travel insurance claims and found South Africa to be at the top of the list of countries for serious crime.

The survey said travellers to South Africa were the most likely to suffer violent robberies or lose their belongings in transit. South Africa has been earmarked as the country where tourists' luggage goes missing most often and where the most crimes take place. South Africa was also high on the list for food poisoning and road accidents.

'South Africa was highest for claims made as a result of robbery with violence'
David Ross, senior media relations manager at Norwich Union, said: "We are the UK's largest insurance company. For the first time we looked at the claims we received from our customers and identified which countries and types of claims cropped up most frequently. South Africa was highest for claims made as a result of robbery with violence."

In the past week, the British Foreign Office warned the more than 460 000 Britons who travel to South Africa annually about the high levels of crime in the country, including rape, murder, hijackings, muggings, theft and fraud.

Hillbrow and Berea in Johannesburg are described as high risk, and in Kwazulu-Natal tourists are warned to be vigilant at all times, especially in central Durban and beachfront areas. They are also warned against driving at night when visiting Northern Kwazulu-Natal and Zululand, as there have been incidents of hijackings and robberies, particularly on lonely secondary roads.

Isolated beach and picnic spots are also listed as dangerous, as well as Table Mountain in Cape Town, where some attacks on hikers have been particularly violent.

The Australia Tourist Commission warns its citizens visiting South Africa to maintain high levels of personal security awareness and remain vigilant.

'Maintain high levels of personal security awareness and remain vigilant'
"Robbery, armed assault, theft and pick-pocketing are prevalent, particularly in the centres of Cape Town, Durban, Johannesburg and Pretoria.

"Car jackings, muggings, theft and pick-pocketing are common. Murders and rapes involving foreign tourists have been reported," the commission said.

Meanwhile, the US Department of State has informed its American citizens about armed robbery, carjacking, muggings, "smash and grab" attacks on vehicles, and other incidents that are regularly reported.

"South Africa also has the highest incidence of reported rape in the world. Foreigners are not specifically targeted, but several have been the victims of rape.

"A number of Americans have been mugged or violently attacked on commuter and metro trains, especially between Johannesburg and Pretoria.

Several American travellers also reported theft of personal belongings after strangers they invited into their hotels drugged them. In at least one instance, an American died after being drugged and robbed in this manner," the department warned.

The Canadian High Commission warns its citizens of high levels of crimes like armed assault, carjacking, mugging and theft.

However, South African Tourism authorities remain optimistic that the negative publicity or warnings will not deter tourists and will have no impact on the country.

"Tourism has again achieved record-breaking growth, as total foreign arrivals grew by 6,9 percent to 1 616 027 last year, with more than eight million domestic trips taken in the same period.

This represents the fourth successive quarter in which the highest number of foreign arrivals to South Africa has been posted, and it reflects the significance and potential of the domestic travel market.

"The foreign direct spend increased from R8,6-billion to R10,3-billion and we expected to achieve even more impressive figures in the future," said Moeketsi Mosola, CEO of South African Tourism.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Independent on Saturday on July 29, 2006


Saturday, 29 July 2006

Life for men who strangled octogenarian

July 28 2006 at 08:02PM

The killers of an 84-year-old Benoni woman were on Friday sentenced to life imprisonment by the Pretoria High Court.

One of the men also raped her, and received a second life term.

Judge Aubrey Ledwaba said Siyabulela Ngoma, 27, and Steven Nana Ntombeni, 38, both of Daveyton, acted out of greed and malice when they attacked the elderly Hannah Wheatley on August 27, 2004.

The men gained entry to her house by breaking down a door. Ntombeni raped her before they strangled her.

They stole her handbag, a toaster, a wall clock and a kettle. They earlier pleaded not guilty to murder, housebreaking with the intent to commit robbery and rape (only Ntombeni was charged with this).

They were, however, convicted on all the charges against them.

In addition to the life sentences, they also received a further 15 years for to housebreaking.

"I cannot understand what went through the mind of the accused when he raped such an old woman," Ledwaba said. He added that there could be no explanation which could justify such an outrageous crime. - Sapa


Courts fed up with crime rate - judge

July 28 2006 at 07:45PM

A Pretoria High Court judge on Friday in no uncertain terms said the courts were fed up with the high rate of crime and with the disregard criminals had for the life of innocent people.

He warned that criminals would feel the brunt of the law.

This speech by judge Aubrey Ledwaba was prompted by the killing of a Brakpan couple - Phillipus Meyburg, 53, and his wife Ria, 39.

The couple had been married for only six weeks before they were murdered.

Malebo Makgetlaheng received a double life sentence for the two murders while his co-accused Martin Mahlangu and Thabiso Ndlela each received three life terms - for the murders as well as an additional life sentence because they raped the woman.

The couple were not home on June 16, 2004 when the men broke into their house. They later arrived home and the man was shot in the chest. He later died on the scene. His wife was assaulted with a hammer while the accused demanded money from her.

She was later tied up and placed into her car, which was loaded with goods the men took from the house. They took her to a veld near Springs where she was shot in the chest. Her husband was found the next day -dead in his bedroom.

The police launched a hunt for the woman. Her body was found four days later by a miner.

Ledwaba said crime has reached alarming proportions and innocent and respectful members of the community were killed in their own homes.

"What is most disturbing is that criminals break into these houses without any fear whether the occupants are there... If they find the people there and they offer any resistance, the criminals will simply kill them." - Sapa


Friday, 28 July 2006

Muldersdrift attacks 'normal'

26/07/2006 13:29 - (SA)

Johannesburg - A spate of violent attacks in Muldersdrift had "stabilised" despite the murder of a man outside his house in a hijacking, West Rand police said on Wednesday.

"There are attacks; no different from other areas. They do happen, but seldom," said Captain Siphiwe Ndlovu.

Two hijackers attacked businessman Leon Naude, 48, while a colleague was dropping him off at his home at 19:15 on Monday, Ndlovu confirmed.

They opened fire, shooting Naude five times in the face and upper body. He died on the scene. The robbers fled in the silver and green Volvo 4x4. It was later found abandoned four kilometres away.

Police would be intensifying visibility in the area, he said.

They had already implemented a sectoral policing system under which the area was divided into smaller parts to improve police reaction times and visibility. They were also actively recruiting reservists and involving the community policing forums.

Two or three times a month, the police identified hotspots and conducted stop-and-search, roadblocks and helicopter drop-and-pick operations.

While he could not disclose how many attacks had taken place in Muldersdrift so far this year, and whether the number of attacks had decreased, he was adamant that the measures were "helping".

The police promised to step up patrols in the area in November after Sylvia Hart, 84, and her husband Harold Hart, 88, were found dead on their farm. Both had sustained multiple wounds from an unknown object.

Their murder came just days after the owner of a smallholding shot dead a robber - and after a series of violent attacks.

In August, the 48-year-old owner of a plot in Muldersdrift shot dead one of his former employees who was allegedly part of a gang trying to rob the smallholding.

In July, three robbers shot and wounded two United States filmmakers at a guest house in Muldersdrift. In June, a man survived being shot in the forehead during a house robbery in the same area.

In April, Ulrich Lange, 81, was murdered on his smallholding in the area.

In May a Muldersdrift resident, Michael Clarke, put his house on the market after being robbed for the fifth time.

The Clarke family was attacked in its kitchen, barely three weeks after Michael Clarke, 16, was shot in the neck in an ambush outside the house.

In another incident that month, a gang of four robbers shot and injured 65-year-old Chris Klein after overpowering his daughter, Sanet du Plessis, 34, and a friend.


Wife tells of man's bravery during robbery

July 27 2006 at 01:00PM

By Miranda Andrew

Brendan Muldoon, a Kloof resident, tried against all the odds to protect the "love of his life" this week.

Armed only with a wooden plank, he fought off an entire gang of armed robbers who had stormed into his home.

Muldoon paid for his courage and was stabbed with a screwdriver, but he saved his wife from harm.

The 55 year old was admitted to hospital and survived the incident. At approximately 8.30pm on Tuesday night, Muldoon was building a cupboard in the lounge when four intruders, armed with guns, knives and screwdrivers, entered the home through an open kitchen door.

Muldoon's tearful wife, Helen, who heard the commotion from the lounge, told the Daily News on Wednesday that the armed men ran into the lounge and put a gun to her head and began making demands.

They took her into an office - from which they ran a business from home - and demanded a laptop and cash.

"But we do not own a laptop," said Helen.

"So I obeyed all their other commands and offered them anything they wanted in the house," she said.

"My husband tried to defend me and attacking the robbers was one of the bravest things he has ever done," she said tearfully.

The gang then ransacked the house and took her cellphone, cash from her handbag, a digital and video camera and jewellery and fled.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Daily News on July 27, 2006


House owner kills burglars

July 27 2006 at 05:16PM

Two burglars were shot dead and one escaped after a householder in Risiville in Vereeniging opened fire on them, police said on Thursday.

Superintendent Maria Mazibuko said the owner of the house, 49, and his wife were entertaining a visitor on Wednesday night, when he noticed movements through the window. He immediately went for his firearm, and went outside.

On looking through a window he saw the three robbers inside the house. One had his wife at gunpoint, and the other had a firearm pointed at the visitor.

Mazibuko said the robbers knew there were three occupants in the house, and one of them went to search for the owner.

On confronting the owner, the robber was shot twice in the head.

The second one heard the shots and went to investigate. He was also shot twice in the head. Both men died on the scene.

The police were looking for the third suspect who fled with two cellphones.

Two 9mm pistols were found next to the unidentified suspects.

They may be connected to other house robberies in the area.

The names of the owners of the house and the visitor were withheld for security reasons, Mazibuko said. - Sapa


Pretoria man killed in robbery

July 27 2006 at 07:53PM

A Pretoria smallholder has been shot dead by four armed robbers wearing camouflage uniforms, police said on Thursday.

Manie de Jager, 59, was asleep with his wife, Serina "Tjoekie", 53, when the men broke into the house by bending back the burglar bars on a window at 11pm on Tuesday, said Inspector Katlego Mogale.

The couple woke on hearing what sounded like people trying to open the bedroom door, she said. While De Jager tried to fight off the robbers, his wife ran to a bathroom and locked herself in.

She heard shots fired and on emerging from the bathroom later, when she felt it was safe, she found her husband dead. He had been shot in the back.

Mogale said two cellphones were missing.

However, the De Jagers' son, Kahn, told the daily newspaper, Beeld, there was no motive for robbery.

"It's murder. It was nothing other than murder. They took two cellphones - and my father's life," he said.

"How are you supposed to feel when your father is cold-bloodedly murdered and the state turns its back on farm murders?" he asked. "Nothing is done. It's farm murder after farm murder. This is just another statistic," he told the newspaper.

Originally from Groblersdal, the De Jagers moved into the house two months ago with the intention of setting up a guest house.

It was not known what kind of camouflage their assailants were wearing, said Mogale. The serious and violent crimes unit was investigating.

The Freedom Front Plus condemned the murder.

The party's MPL in the North West Legislature, Andrew Gerber, said the current wave of farm murders had released an "unparalleled anger amongst the general population which will explode at some point if the government does not intervene".

Gerber said the promise by Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula to cut crime was just empty words.

He said police officers sent to the Democratic Republic of Congo to assist there should be brought back to South Africa.

"How can the crime-riddled population of South Africa take the ANC government seriously when its most essential police force members are being sent abroad, leaving innocent victims without the required assistance? The call for justice from various quarters is falling on deaf ears. The public no longer believes that the government either has the will or the capacity to protect innocent citizens against murderous criminals," said Gerber. - Sapa


Farmer robbed third time in five years

July 28 2006 at 10:30AM

An elderly Hertzogville farmer has been assaulted and robbed in the third attack on him in five years, Free State police said on Friday.

Fanie du Toit, 76, was attacked in the kitchen of his farm, Garinglaagte, by two men - one of them possibly armed, said Inspector Harry Nagel.

He sustained a cut to his head and was taken to his doctor for treatment, he said.

His assailants fled on foot. It was not known what was taken, said Nagel.

Nagel said Du Toit lived alone on the farm. The first time he was attacked, two people were arrested, but there were no arrests the second time.

The police were still looking for the robbers.

A docket of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm had been opened. - Sapa


Saturday, 22 July 2006

'My God, they have shot my boy...'

July 21 2006 at 11:49AM

By Anna Louw

A visit to inspect a property for sale turned into a nightmare for a mother when she saw her only child shot by hijackers.

On Thursday night doctors were keeping a close watch on 12-year-old Quintin Hall at the Glynwood Hospital in Benoni after a two-hour emergency operation. The boy is in intensive care and breathing with the help of a ventilator.

Laetia Hall, 38, never left her son's bedside. Hall, of Boksburg, Ekurhuleni, said on Thursday night that she and Quintin, together with her friend Riana Smit and her son Stefan, 14, had gone to look at a townhouse in Dyan Road, Boksburg North, on Wednesday. Hall had fetched Quintin after choir practice at Concordia Afrikaans Primary School in Boksburg, where he is a Grade 6 pupil.

'Don't come closer. We will kill you'

"We met the estate agent at the school and followed him to the complex. We had a look at the townhouse and were walking back to the car when a woman came running towards us screaming: 'Help me, they have just hijacked my car'," Hall said.

She said the women and the two boys ran to help the victim. "We shouted to a man at the gate to help us, but little did we know that he was one of the hijackers."

Hall said the man had shouted: "Don't come closer. We will kill you. We are going to shoot you."

She added: "We saw the gun and realised our mistake. He had jumped out to stop the automatic gate at the entrance to the complex from closing. I then saw that the man behind the car's steering wheel also had a gun.

"We stopped in our tracks and, as they were leaving, one of the gunmen shot my son in the stomach. There was a small hole in the front, but the bullet went straight through him and he was in terrible pain. I started crying hysterically. I thought: 'My God, they have shot my boy'," Hall said.

She called her medical aid's emergency number and they dispatched a Netcare 911 ambulance with paramedics. "They gave Quintin oxygen and rendered emergency treatment, performed a tracheotomy to help him breathe, put up a drip and gave him oxygen," Hall said.

The boy was rushed through to the Glynwood Hospital where a specialist was waiting after being alerted about the attack. After a two-hour operation to repair damage to his stomach and pancreas, as well as a main artery, doctors left the child's bedside only after three hours.

The specialist told Hall her son's condition was critical but his chances of survival were good.

By last night the boy's condition was stable, but serious. "He has tried to open his eyes, but is still on a ventilator," his mother said. "It is like watching a horror movie, all the while hoping that it's not real."

Superintendent Andy Pieke said a five-man gang had attacked a 28-year-old woman in her grey Volkswagen Polo at the complex. They threatened her and ordered her to start the car, but forced her out of the vehicle when she started screaming for help. This is when Hall, Smit and their sons are believed to have intervened.

Pieke said the woman who was hijacked was not hurt but her car was still missing.

The East Rand Hijacking Task team is investigating and has appealed to the community to help the police with their investigation. Anyone with information can call Inspector Werner Fischer on 082-373-0986.

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on July 21, 2006


Friday, 21 July 2006

Pensioner fights off gun-wielding attackers

Hanti Otto

July 21 2006 at 04:58AM

"I screamed. And when they told me to shut up or they'd kill me, I just screamed louder."

Elza Browning, 60, of Doringkloof, Centurion, had no intention of dying without a fight when she was attacked by two robbers on Wednesday afternoon.

In stark contrast to her screaming, she recalled the almost inaudible clicks of the trigger as one robber tried to shoot her husband.

"While I screamed and fought off the men, one pointed the gun at Patrick (her husband). He pulled the trigger. I counted between five and seven clicks. But not one shot went off. I assume it jammed," Browning said on Thursday.

'I thought he was going to tear my finger off'

Her body was aching from the fight she had put up, coupled with the fact that she had recently had an operation.

Browning said she went outside the house at about 4.30pm. The gate was open as she wanted to bring the dustbin inside. "I saw two men. I thought they were looking for work. Then I realised their body language was very aggressive.

"The next moment they attacked me, shaking and shoving me."

She started to scream, calling it an "animal instinct" to survive and a refusal to just allow them to take "what I have worked for all my life".

During the struggle one attacker grabbed her around the throat from behind, pressing a gun against her head. The other pulled at her hands where she clenched her purse and car keys.

'I heard clicks as he pulled the trigger'

"The attacker pulled so hard on the keys, of which the ring was around my finger, that I thought he was going to tear my finger off."

The man with the gun shouted at her to be quiet, threatening kill her. His accomplice suddenly ran to her vehicle. Browning said she did not even realise he had managed to get hold of the key.

Reacting to the commotion outside, her husband opened the front door. "The robber pointed his gun at Patrick's face. He screamed at Patrick. I heard clicks as he pulled the trigger," Browning said.

Then one robber drove off with her vehicle and the gunman fled. Browning saw him three houses away, laughing. "I know they say don't put up a fight, but I just thought: why should I surrender or give up?"

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on July 21, 2006


Charles Nqakula: If you dont like crime, get out.

"They can continue to whinge until they're blue in the face, they can continue to be as negative as they want to or they can simply leave this country" - Charles Nqakula told South Africans who complain about crime.

Nelson Mandela sings about killing whites

Nelson Mandela sings with his communist comrades about killing white people.

Wednesday, 19 July 2006

Carte Blanche report on farm murders in the new South Africa

Since 1994 close to two thousand farmers have been murdered in tens of thousands of farm attacks in South Africa, many brutally tortured and/or raped, often in front of family members also taken hostage. The South African government calls it crime but often nothing is stolen. These brutal attacks are carried out by well armed organised (often very young) blacks against defenceless white farmers and their families and not even infants or the elderly are spared. Zimbabwe pales in comparison. Where is the world-wide outcry? Mandela, wipe that smile off your face.

Sky News report on farm murders in South Africa

Since 1994 close to two thousand farmers have been murdered in tens of thousands of farm attacks in South Africa, many brutally tortured and/or raped, often in front of family members also taken hostage. The South African government calls it crime but often nothing is stolen. These brutal attacks are carried out by well armed organised (often very young) blacks against defenceless white farmers and their families and not even infants or the elderly are spared. Zimbabwe pales in comparison. Where is the world-wide outcry? Mandela, wipe that smile off your face.

Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Attackers leave weird message

18/07/2006 07:59 - (SA)

Pieter Jordaan, Beeld

Krugersdorp - An elderly woman from Krugersdorp had to struggle for nearly five hours to free herself after she was stabbed and tied up by attackers.

The elderly woman then found the body of her 78-year-old husband where he lay dead in the passage of their home.

Only then did Niesje van der Kaam, 72, manage to push the panic button to raise the alarm.

Although Hendrick van der Kaam had no visible injuries, his feet had been tied by the three armed robbers who had attacked the couple while they were watching TV in Voortrekker Road about 22:00.

Police are puzzled

After police arrived and began investigating, a strange message, presumably left by the robbers, was found.

According to police spokesperson Milica Bezuidenhout, police found writing on a wall inside the house.

"The officials found pieces of paint on the floor below the place where the inscription had probably been made with a knife."

"The inscription will also be investigated, as we cannot at present say what it means," said Bezuidenhout.

Beeld heard that the inscription - which appears to spell "1/v END" - was found inside the house.

It also seemed as if the letters END might rather be the letters E and F, I and Y and T and J.

A DVD-player, a video machine and money were stolen from the house.

A post-mortem will be done to determine van der Kaam's cause of death.

According to Bezuidenhout, police were concerned about the recent spate of armed robberies at homes in the Krugersdorp area.

The 35-year-old Reinard van Zyl was wounded in the chest and shoulder after robbers had overpowered him and his family in Noordheuwel while they were having supper.

A pregnant woman, Elize Fivaz, 23, was admitted to hospital the previous week after being wounded by robbers in her house in Lewisham.

Van der Kaam and her family didn't want to comment from the Krugersdorp private hospital, where she was being treated.


Monday, 17 July 2006

The Criminalization of South Africa

- by Dr Peter Hammond, Frontline

Last year 111,528 vehicles were reported stolen in South Africa, of which 45,152 (40%) were recovered. Police investigated 44,222 stock theft cases which resulted in 7,980 court cases.

52,425 rapes were reported. 41% of all the victims were aged 18 years or younger with 14% being 12 years or younger.

In the last 6 years there have been over 8,000 attacks on farmers, resulting in 1,750 murders of farmers( up to Dec 16 2004).

In the last 4 years 654 policemen have been murdered.

Last year officially 21,553 people were murdered in South Africa.

These statistics are just some of the facts revealed in the latest report from the Ministry of Safety and Security.

A communication leaflet distributed to tourists by the South African Police Service contained the following: "Safety Hints For The Holiday Season: never display expensive jewellery, cameras, mobile phones or other valuables."

Which raises the questions: when should jewellery be worn, if not in public? What are tourists meant to do with cameras and other valuables when walking in our streets?

The SAPS Safety Hints contained no less than 32 "basic rules", "safety hints", "in the street", "when travelling", "at hotels", etc.

Unfortunately, the extremely intrusive, inconvenient and frustrating requirements for safety in SA detailed in this leaflet, hardly seem excessive at all.

Theft, assault and murder, even of tourists, have become common place.


Yet those of us who are over 40 can remember that it was not always like this. It does not seem that long ago when steering locks, gear locks, and car alarms were unknown in South Africa.

In fact I know people who never even took the keys out of the ignition of their car, even when parked down town.

Many homes were never locked.

Burglar bars, security gates, home alarms and Armed Response companies were unknown and unnecessary.

Many homes had no wall or only a low fence or hedge around the property.

Children walked or cycled on their own to school, with no fear for their safety.

What has happened to cause South Africa to degenerate to such a low respect for life and property (in such a short period of time)?

Why has crime and corruption seeped through all sectors of our society - affecting everyone?


I pondered this question as I went for a run around my neighbourhood. Graffiti vandalised walls, litter and unkempt dying municipal gardens provided a clue.

As our rates and taxes have skyrocketed, services from government and the municipality have plummeted.

Crime and grime grow along with ineffective and corrupt government.

At a community meeting against crime, a police inspector pointed out that unkempt gardens and homes tend to be invitations to criminals.

I then questioned the town councillor whether litter strewn and graffiti vandalised neighbourhoods are not similarly an invitation to the criminal element.

He resented the connection, so I followed this up by pointing out that the municipality and government are involved in even more theft than the criminals are.

By taking more and more rates and taxes and providing less and less services in return, the government is, in effect, stealing from the taxpayers.

Now we not only have to pay the government and municipality our rates and taxes, but because of the failure of government (to protect us), we also have to employ private security companies to provide the protections which the police used to give.

And in several communities there is an extra tax for a Community Improvement District, to do what the municipality used to do - for far less rates.

In fact, as one considers VAT, it appears that the government may, in fact, be obtaining even more than the criminals are from the growth industry of theft.

Take for example my motorbike which was stolen the day after the Ministry of Safety and Security reported that crime was decreasing in South Africa.

When I purchased the motorbike I had to pay 14% VAT.

On the insurance payments, I had to pay 14% VAT.

Now that the item has been stolen I will have to pay another 14% VAT on any replacement for the motorbike!

This means that the government may make more money out of the average vehicle theft than the criminal does.

It reminds one of the bumper sticker:

Don't steal - the government hates competition!


Why has crime become a major growth industry and employer in South Africa?

The failure of our criminal justice system is part of the answer.

For every 1,000 crimes reported in South Africa, only 430 criminals are arrested.

Of these, only 77 are convicted and barely 8 of these are sentenced to 2 or more years imprisonment.

It is also calculated that South African convicts have a 94% recidivism rate (that is, 94% of all persons released after serving a sentence immediately become involved in crime again).


With our laws being so protective of the criminals and so ineffectively enforced, with lax security in jails, ridiculously low bail conditions, over generous remission of sentences, and wholesale amnesties, it's no wonder our homes have had to be transformed into locked fortresses.

The early release of well over 100,000 criminals, including murderers and rapists, from South African prisons could not have helped either.

Numerous reports have noted the sharp exponential increase of violent crime, particularly murder, in South Africa which coincided with the suspension of the death penalty in 1989 and its abolition in 1996.


Alcohol abuse has also been found to go hand in hand with South Africa's new culture of violence.

Most homicide victims have been found to have high concentrations of alcohol in their blood.

Most murders have tended to be committed in summer, on Friday and Saturday nights and in and around taverns, bars and shebeens.

Most suspects arrested for murder and rape have been found to have used drugs within 48 hours prior to the arrest.


A booklet ("Talk About Children At Risk") written by the South African Police Services Child Protection Unit, revealed that South Africa was "fast becoming known as the premier sex tourism destination of the world, particularly because children's bodies are plentiful and cheap.

"It is also common knowledge that this country is a world leader in the spread of HIV/Aids."


The police report noted that "in 1996 the Films and Publication Act was past legalising pornography for the first time in the history of the country, this made it possible for child abusers, rapists and paedophiles to obtain all the material they needed.

Statistics tell the story as South African Police Service records show that child rape increased…over 400%"

The police report further stated that: "research with child sexual offenders reveals that all have used child pornography." Pornography is the theory, rape is the practise.

The tragic result of the SA government's legalisation of the exploitative pornography industry is catalogued by the SAPS Child Protection Unit: "the commercial exploitation of children includes…rape, murder, abduction, bribery, false marriages…bonded labour, extortion, mail order brides…1 out of every 12 prostitutes is younger than 17…"

This wholesale exploitation of children has flourished because of "corruption and collusion, the absence of or inadequacy of laws, lax law enforcement and limited sensitisation of law enforcement personnel to the harmful impact on children…and government officials who may, often unwittingly, be guilty through indifference, ignorance…"

The National Institute for Crime Prevention (NICRO) has estimated that there are approximately 380,000 rape cases in South Africa every year.

Yet, as the rape rate has soared, the conviction rate of rapists has plummeted.

Less than 7% of reported rapists are ever convicted!

"Why do people commit crime so readily? Because crime is not punished quickly enough" Ecclesiastes 8:11


Other causes of the criminalisation of South Africa which should be considered include the legalisation of gambling and abortion.

Legalised gambling has been described as "theft by consent." It could also be considered as a form of taxation upon those who cannot do maths. It has been calculated that you have more chance of being struck by lightning than of winning the lottery.

Every study on gambling has shown that along with a rise of gambling always comes an increase in all kinds of crime and vice, including fraud and theft.


The "Choice on Termination of Pregnancy" Act, in legalising violence against pre-born babies has also gone along with a massive increase in the violence and abuse of children.

After all, if violence against pre-born babies can be justified, then why not against older children?

Abortion devalues human life, and fosters a mentality which leads to increasing child abuse.

Abortion is the ultimate child abuse.

Over 350 000 babies have been legally killed through abortion in South Africa in the last seven years.


The dumbing down of our education system through the Outcomes Based Education, Curriculum 2005 programme of the Ministry of Education, must also be looked at.

The compulsory sex education, situation ethics, evolutionism, and general anti-Christian bias of the education department has not only eroded ethical foundations and lowered moral standards in South African schools, but academic standards have plummeted as well.

An incredulous Principal showed me one official letter sent by the Minister of Education.

In this letter the Minister complained about the habit of too many teachers coming to school late and leaving early to go to shebeens and brothels, often returning drunk or failing to return at all!

The Minister of Education also warned against "the prevalent practice" of teachers forcing students to have sex with them!

This was "demeaning" and "an abuse of authority" he claimed!

That this child abuse was common place in the government schools was a terrible indictment, but that the Department of Education was not firing and prosecuting these rapists and child abusers was, if anything, even more shocking.

By the time the average child graduates he or she will have spent up to 15 000 hours in school.

What value or worldview will he or she have learnt during that time?

Nearly 500 years ago the great German Reformer, Martin Luther warned:

"I am much afraid that schools will prove to be wide gates to hell unless they diligently labour in explaining the Holy Scriptures, engraving them on the hearts of youth.

I advise no-one to place his child where the Scriptures do not reign paramount.

Every institution in which men are not constantly occupied with the Word of God must become corrupt."


Another cause of the criminalisation of South Africa is the entertainment industry. Superficial, sensational and violent material, often glamorising crime, predominates the modern entertainment industry and it is producing an increasingly superficial, selfish, lawless and immoral society.

The disintegration of many families, absentee parents and a general absence of discipline have created a vacuum.

Violent and immoral films and videos, throbbing, pulsating, noise - masquerading as music - and pornographic magazines are filling the void in the aimless and meaningless lives of all too many young people.

Many films fall into the "how to" category, giving training on how to be a bank robber, fraudster, car thief, etc.

The criminal is often the most attractive character of the film.

Rap, drugs, violent video games, and gangs are breeding a whole generation of criminals and gangsters.


The selfishness and short-sightedness of modern society is also seen in litter strewn, graffiti vandalised communities.

The filth, pollution and destruction of the environment in which all too many children play and grow up in is also reflected in the self-mutilation and body piercing of a growing number of confused young people. Pierced noses and eyebrows, tongue studs and belly rings along with acid rock and rap should be a wake up call to any parent.

But, incredibly all too many parents seem oblivious to the sullen, self-destructive, rebellious attitudes that go along with this kind of body mutilating, mind rotting and soul destroying sub culture.

So, when next we ask the question, what has happened that South Africa could have been overwhelmed by such a tidal wave of crime, let us consider the ethical and moral roots. As South Africa has turned away from God, and embraced Pagan policies, how can we be surprised?


By legalising gambling, prostitution, pornography, and abortion; and by promoting humanistic education in the schools and passive acceptance of violent and immoral entertainment in the media, we have undermined the essential respect for life and property without which society cannot effectively function.

"The Bible is the chief moral cause of all that is good and the best corrective of all that is evil, in human society; the best book for regulating the temporal concerns of men, and the only book that can serve as an infallible guide…the principles of genuine liberty, and of wise laws and administrations are to be drawn from the Bible and sustained by its authority. The man therefore, who weakens or destroys the Divine authority of that Book, may be accessory to all the public disorders which society is doomed to suffer…" Noah Webster

Until South Africa returns to Biblical principles in economics, education, entertainment, in the judiciary and in Parliament, we cannot expect to win the war against crime.

Dr Peter Hammond
Frontline Fellowship, P O Box 74, Newlands, 7725, Cape Town, South Africa

Attacker bites chunk out of mom

16/07/2006 22:39 - (SA)

Gerhard de Bruin

Margate - A Durban woman will have to undergo cosmetic surgery after her Margate holiday turned into a nightmare when an attacker bit a piece of flesh from her cheek.

The chunk of flesh that was chomped out of her cheek was the size of a R5 coin

Kim Bailey, 42, says she and her 15-year-old daughter, Bronwyn, were staying at her parents' home in Margate when the incident occurred.

"I try to keep fit and went for beach walks along the sea in the afternoons.

I was stretching my leg muscles one afternoon when I saw a man approaching.

"When he reached me, he grabbed me without any warning and threw me to the ground.

"He grabbed my hand and pulled me to bushes along the road. Everything happened in seconds."

Assaulted, beaten and cursed

Bailey said she screamed, but apparently no one heard her.

Her attacker dragged her about 15m through the bushes to the beach.

She was assaulted, beaten and cursed.

On the beach, the man took a screwdriver out of his pocket and threatened to stab her.

Bailey said she initially tried to calm her attacker and pleaded with him not to hurt her.

"He grabbed my cellphone and repeatedly demanded money, but I didn't have anything on me.

"I took off an expensive diamond ring and gave it to him in the hope he would leave me alone, but he just continued assaulting me."

She said the worst part was when another man walked past, saw what was happening, but wouldn't help her.

"I pleaded with the man to help me, but he just looked at my attacker, said something to him and ran away."

Bailey said her attacker then dragged her to an open space in the bushes and tried to rape her.

"He pushed me flat on my back and tore off my shirt. My bra was in tatters.

"I then started to fight like a person possessed. I kicked and hit him and also grabbed him between the legs.

"In the fight, he bit off this huge chunk out of my cheek and spat it on the sand.

"I managed to free myself and ran for my life along the beach away from him."

Bailey said her attacker followed her initially, but he fled into the bush when she approached a couple who helped her.

Unaware of what her mother was going through, her daughter and two girlfriends were walking on the same road and minutes later the same man attacked them.

Bronwyn said she and the two girls, Storm and Page, whom she had met in Margate a few days before the incident, were walking on the pavement when the man rushed at them from the bushes alongside the road.

Said he was 'joking around'

"He grabbed one of the girls around the neck and demanded money.

"Why I did it, I don't know, but I rushed him on the spur of the moment and pushed him away from my friend. All three of us ran away."

Bronwyn said the man shouted at them, saying he was just "joking around".

After running a short distance, the girls met up with Bronwyn's shocked and bloodied mother.

Both mother and daughter were treated for shock in hospital.


Farm killings prompt union to go on strike

July 17 2006 at 07:03AM

Trade union Solidarity is planning to embark on a one-day strike against farm murders, the union's deputy general secretary Dirk Hermann said on Sunday.

He said the union was planning on calling on all of its members and the community at large to support the trade union's campaign.

The union's planned campaign was sparked by the murder of Frans Pieterse, a Solidarity member, at his smallholding outside Swartruggens, North West, last week.

"We cannot sit by and do nothing when one of our members is put to death in such a savage manner," Hermann said in a statement.

"We are consulting with our members at the mine where Mr Pieterse had been employed to discuss the possibility of a one-day strike in sympathy with the deceased's family and in protest against violent crime," he said.

Pieterse was tortured for more than four hours, with his attackers using boiling water to burn him, cut open his head and strangled him with a shoelace, Hermann said.

He said the alleged killers also melted plastic and dripped it on Pieterse's son, Gideon.

The murder took place in full view of Daleen, Pieterse's wife, Gideon, 10, and Pieterse's other child, Anuscka, 3.

Pieterse worked on the Helam diamond mine.

Hermann's said Solidarity's civil rights initiative, AfriForum, has asked all role players in the agricultural industry to launch the joint campaign.

"Solidarity has also begun with the compilation of a report on farm murders, for distribution locally and internationally.

"A website to mobilise protest against farm murders is also envisaged.

"We are planning one of the largest civil campaigns ever seen in South Africa. Our duty is to place this issue on the government's highest priority list.

"It would unfortunately appear that government will not act decisively once farm and smallholding killings become a political liability.

"We are compelled, therefore, to make it a political liability right now," he said. - Sapa


Sunday, 16 July 2006

Teen killer gets heavy sentence

13/07/2006 19:09 - (SA)

Johannesburg - A man was sentenced in the Nigel regional court on Wednesday to 25 years in prison, after he was found guilty of murdering a 16-year-old girl, Gauteng police said.

"The girl was last seen alive with the accused, Petros Boshego 42, in Tsakane (on the East Rand). Her body was found with bullet wounds at Hippo Quarries, Dunnottar on the 16th November 2004," Superintendent Andy Pieke said on Thursday.

"Boshego was found in possession of an unlicensed pistol, and ballistics proved it was the same pistol used to shoot the girl," Pieke said.

The Dunnottar police arrested Boshego the same day they started their investigations. He was packing and was on his way to Polokwane.

Boshego was also charged with rape, fraud, possession of an unlicensed pistol and ammunition.


Robbers drip hot plastic on boy

13/07/2006 22:41 - (SA)

Carla Mouton, Beeld

Swartruggens - A North West woman has told how armed men attacked and tortured her family, pouring boiling hot water on her husband and slashing open his forehead - afterwards strangling him using a shoelace.

"It feels unreal. I won't ever be able to return home."

Daleen Pieters, 33 and her husband, Frans, 44, were attacked in their home on their smallholding just outside Swartruggens while her children, Gideon, 10 and Anuscka, 3, watched.

Pieters, a mineworker, had a prosthetic leg.

Daleen Pieters said: "They kicked open the front door at 21:15 while I was watching television. My husband and children were asleep. The robbers immediately attacked me with a knife."

'I don't know if they stabbed him'

They cut her leg to the bone in two places, went to fetch her husband and children and tied up all of them in the television room.

"They melted a plastic bag and dripped the melting plastic on my son. They battered his nose and his eye is black and blue. They hit my little girl once."

She said one of the men pushed the barrel of a 9mm pistol into her mouth and blindfolded and gagged all of them.

"They tortured my husband first before they killed him. I don't know if they also stabbed him."

The men tortured the family from just after 21:00 until 01:00.

The three attackers left after ransacking the home.

Peters managed to free herself and her children, ran to the neighbours and contacted the police.

They were treated in the local hospital and are staying with her sister-in-law on a farm in the area for the time being.

"My body is sore and covered with bruises. My little girl doesn't understand what's happened. I'll have to get psychological counselling for my son," she said.

Another 12-year-old son was not at home during the attack.

Captain Elsabé Augoustides said the attackers stole a television set and a DVD valued at R2 800.

Three men shortly afterwards tried to break open the front door of Johan Labuschagne, who lives about one kilometre from the Pieterses' smallholding.

"Labuschagne woke up and contacted a neighbour who telephoned the police,"said Augoustides.

They arrived shortly afterwards and arrested a 19-year-old.

Pieters has identified the man as one of the three who attacked the family.

Augoustides said police are investigating the possibility that the two attacks could be linked.

The youth is expected to appear in the Swartruggens magistrate's court on Friday.


'He didn't look like a killer'

14/07/2006 09:02 - (SA)

Malani Venter, Die Burger

Cape Town - A former international model, 57, from Pretoria, who was paralysed after a knife attack in Sea Point, was initially not afraid of the "civilised businessman" who stabbed her in the back.

"He looked like an ordinary businessman - decent. He was well dressed and spoke a black language," said Deidre as she described her attacker on Thursday. "He didn't look like a murderer at all."

For security reasons, her surname has not been revealed.

She said she'd pointed out the man to police on a photograph. "A detective showed me a photo album of suspects and I immediately recognised him," she said. He'd been charged with murder before.

Captain Randall Stoffels, a police spokesperson, said "the office cannot confirm if any suspect(s) had been identified or pointed out by the complainant".

Stabbed in the back twice

He said as soon as an identikit had been compiled, the media would be called on to publish it.

Die Burger reported on Thursday that Deidre had been attacked in front of her room in a complex in Sea Point last Wednesday.

She was stabbed in the back twice and paralysed from the chest down. She tried sitting up for the first time on Thursday - her birthday.

"People have been calling me from all over the country and from London to sympathise," she said.

She used to be an international model and retired five years ago. People who worked with me in the modelling industry were very shocked."

'I was lying in my own blood'

She said the man took her address book, which was in her handbag, but nothing else. "Fortunately he didn't grab my cellphone, so I could call my friend to come and help me while I was lying in my own blood."

Immediately after the attack, she had no feeling in her legs, she said.

According to a property managing agent of the complex the attack was being regarded in a very serious light and they'd met on Thursday to discuss security measures.

Anybody with information about the attack can call Sea Point police at 021 430 3700.


'Farming is SA's most dangerous profession'

July 14 2006 at 12:43AM

Rural crime has turned farming into one of the most dangerous professions in the country, the Freedom Front Plus said on Thursday.

"The likelihood of a victim dying during a farm attack is three times higher than a victim dying during a cash-in-transit heist," said FF Plus spokesperson Pieter Groenewald.

Groenewald said the rate of police killings - 153 out of every 100 000 - was much lower than in the case of farmers.

"It can be accepted that since 1991 up to now, approximately 1 600 farmers in nearly 10 000 farm attacks have already been killed."

This based on an average murder figure of 112 a year between 2000 and 2004, Groenewald said.

It was "extremely disconcerting" that the government was continuing the closure of commandos.

"The government knows that sector policing in rural areas does not work and a vacuum exists in the security of these areas," Groenewald said.

"It is clear that the government is not disturbed by the farm murders and farm attacks." - Sapa


Family's crime hell

July 15 2006 at 01:54PM

By Fiona Gounden

The crime wave sweeping the country has hit a Durban family hard - seven of them are recent victims.

David Knibbs, 54, a fire protection supervisor, and partner Sandra Haley, 48, an administration clerk in Umbilo, and their children, one as young as 10, have been victims of various crimes including stabbings, housebreaking, theft and muggings.

The latest incident was last Friday night when David's younger son Kenneth, 27, a welder who lives in Morningside, was stabbed after withdrawing money at an ATM in Florida Road.

'It's sad that people need to leave the country to avoid being a victim'

He had withdrawn the money and got back into his car when three men, one carrying a gun and the other two with knives, forced their way into the car. They took his cellphone and wallet containing cash and bank cards and stabbed him in the arm. He was with his girlfriend, Megan Ramb, 25, who was traumatised after the incident. The thieves fled. David said the incident had been traumatic for the young couple.

"It all happened so fast. He's recovering from the incident and is wary about where he goes now."

Before that, there had been a number of incidents affecting other members of the family.

David's Ford Bantam bakkie has been stolen twice in the past five months, the first time outside his flat in Umbilo in March. Police found the vehicle abandoned in Newlands. It was stolen again in June and never found.

David's elder son Raymond, 30, who lives in Greyville, bought a car in January which was stolen 15 minutes later in Morningside.

"His wife had just given birth to a baby and he took a loan of R18 000 to buy the car. Now he has no transport to take his baby to the doctor. He still has to pay back the loan. It's just not fair what these criminals are doing to us," said David, adding that people needed to speak out if they had been victims of crime.

"Almost every person I speak to has been a victim of crime. The sad thing is that they don't come out in the open with it. Only when I tell them what has happened to me do they say they have been victims too. People need to be able to speak about their experiences."

Sandra's daughter, Tyla, 10 has also had her share. She went to a nearby bottle store in Umbilo to buy a cold drink from a vending machine. The store was held up by armed criminals and Tyla had to duck for cover. She is being counselled.

Taryn, 19, Sandra's second daughter, and her fiancé Kevin Griffin, have been held up twice while walking through Umbilo Park to get to the Cato Manor Technical College. The first incident took place in August last year when they were walking with Kevin's brother Wayne.

Four armed men held them up and stole their belongings.

In the second incident, in February, Taryn and Kevin were walking through the park when again three armed men held them up and took their cellphones and wallets containing their cash and cards.

In April, Wayne was robbed by an armed man in the same park. The family went through yet another ordeal when their Umbilo flat was burgled while they were asleep.

The flat in which David, Sandra and her daughters Tyla, Taryn and Taryn's boyfriend Kevin live, was targeted by criminals in February. The burglars climbed up a drainpipe to their third floor flat and stole appliances and other valuables.

The only member of the family who has not been a victim is Sandra's daughter Charlene Becker, 25, who has been living in London for two years and is grateful that she left the country when she did.

"My daughter had to leave the country to feel safe. We can't take much more of this. It's sad that people need to leave the country to avoid being a victim. I don't know how much more of this we can take. The crime situation in the city is crazy and it's chasing everyone away. My parents live on a farm at the Eastern Cape and they don't experience such things," said Sandra.

Taryn and Kevin are emigrating to the United Kingdom to escape the crime in Durban. In the meantime David and Sandra are hoping criminals won't target any more of their family.

"We've been through so much already and I pray to God nobody else in our family falls prey to these criminals. We've really had enough," said David.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Independent on Saturday on July 15, 2006


Thursday, 13 July 2006

Paralysed mom tells of stabbing

13/07/2006 07:18 - (SA)

Malani Venter, Die Burger

Cape Town - A woman from Pretoria has been paralysed from the chest down after a "well-dressed" man stabbed her in her back for no apparent reason at a residential complex in Sea Point.

Deirdré, 57, who for security reasons does not want her surname mentioned, described on Wednesday from her hospital bed how her life changed in the blink of an eye after the attack last Wednesday night.

A few minutes before the interview she spoke to her son in London.

"He is in tears," she said.

"And I can't even go to his wedding next month. I'm like a baby now and I have to learn to do everything all over again."

'Our voices must be heard'

She said she and a friend came to Cape Town on holiday. She was walking alone to their flat when a "'well-dressed" man walked past her, turned around suddenly and began speaking to her.

He said: "Do you see what I've got in my hand? See what I'm going to do with it," and stabbed her in the back twice with a large knife.

"Luckily I was wearing a thick coat and it prevented the man from stabbing an artery in my neck," she said.

She screamed for help for several minutes before her friend and security guards found her. She was immediately taken to a nearby hospital.

She said her doctor told her there is a one percent chance that she might walk again. Soon she will be taken to a rehabilitation centre where she will have to learn all over how to get dressed, sit upright and handle a wheelchair.

Deirdré's faith, family and friends are all that will help her through this trauma.

"I believe in God and I believe in miracles. "It's no good becoming negative now. I must be spiritually and mentally strong."

Asked whether she feels bitter toward her attacker and violence in South Africa, she said: "I leave the man's fate to the Lord. "I think the government is fast asleep about crime in the country. They have security guards who look after them all day long, but what about the ordinary man in the street?

"Yet it won't help to leave the country - nor do I want to - our voices must be heard."

Police spokesperson Captain Randall Stoffels said no one has been arrested yet but an identikit of the attacker is being compiled.

It seemed that the suspect stole nothing from the victim, he said.

A property management agent of the flat complex said the attack is regarded in a very serious light and they will hold a meeting on Thursday to discuss safety measures.


Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Robber 'just laughed'

12/07/2006 07:34 - (SA)

Eduan Roos, Beeld

Pretoria - "When he pulled down my pants and underwear, I told him I have Aids, but he just laughed and said: 'Don't worry, so have I'," a 57-year-old woman said on Tuesday after being assaulted and robbed by bogus policemen who'd entered her home in a security complex.

Susan Adler became suspicious after "police officers" arrived at the couple's upmarket home in Sandown in Northern Johannesburg in a white Volkswagen Golf about 12:00 on Monday, wearing police uniforms and bullet proof vests.

They also had a "suspect" in their car and insisted that she identify a man who'd allegedly broken into the house eight months earlier.

Adler on Tuesday told Beeld how she and her husband, Harris, who has a heart condition and is fitted with a pacemaker, allowed the men to enter the house after they'd offered to show them a cellphone photo of the suspect.

She said one of the men later appeared inside the house with the "suspect", who allegedly wanted to use the bathroom.

"I told my husband that something wasn't right, but the next moment the suspect wasn't shackled any more and they were holding guns to our heads."

The robbers tied their hands and feet with pieces of clothing and telephone cord before demanding money and threatened to shoot them, 702 Talk Radio reported on Tuesday morning.

'Apartheid is over'

"One of them hit my husband in the face with a gun and wrapped his head in a towel. They called him a "fucking white bastard" and told him apartheid was over," she said.

"They insisted on being taken to a second safe, just like they'd done during the previous robbery, but we have only one.

Two of the men took Mrs Adler into the study and, putting a gun into her mouth, threatened to rape her if she didn't give them money.

"When he pulled down my pants and underwear, I told him I had Aids, but he just laughed and said: 'Don't worry, so have I'. I pleaded with his accomplice to help me, but he just ignored me," she said. One of them then indecently assaulted her.

After they'd taken her wedding ring, purse, keys and a nail set, they escaped, and her husband managed to free himself.

"He had to climb over an electric fence with his bare feet and seriously injured them," she said.

Commissioner Oswald Reddy, Johannesburg police chief, told Amanda Roestoff that three top police officers were investigating the incident. They would soon conduct an identity parade.

"Police members associated with the car's registration number have an alibi, but all possibilities are being investigated," he said.


Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Couple hijacked, wife raped

10/07/2006 17:47 - (SA)

Johannesburg - A woman was raped when she and her husband were hijacked in Brakpan, East Rand police said on Monday.

Superintendent Andy Pieke said the couple were attacked in Raasblaai Street in Dalpark on Sunday after 19:00 by two men armed with a gun.

"The men forced the husband and wife into the back seat of their car and drove to Vosloorus."

The husband was tied up and the wife was taken into the veld where she was raped," said Pieke.

The robbers then fled with the couple's car.


Father-to-be tells of shooting

11/07/2006 07:27 - (SA)

Pieter Jordaan, Beeld

Johannesburg - An eight-months pregnant West Rand woman is out of danger after being shot by robbers while she and friends sat chatting around a table in their home on Sunday evening.

Elize Fivaz, 23, of Lewisham near Krugersdorp is being treated in hospital and doctors are keeping an eye on her unborn daughter, Thalita.

Fivaz went into labour shortly after the incident and doctors managed to stop the birth.

Both mother and unborn daughter are out of danger.

'She was very calm'

The child's father, Fanie du Toit, 41, says the bullet "penetrated Elize's side and not her stomach.

"Elize is still attached to machines, because they're trying to stop the labour. Thalita is only expected to be born on August 20 or 22nd.

"It seems as if Elize is coping better than me and she and our baby should be fine," Du Toit said.

Louis Meiring, 35, and his fiancée, Cecilia Venter, 40, told how the two couples were attacked by three robbers shortly after they arrived home.

Meiring said: "We sat in the kitchen. When we looked again, the robbers were there. They didn't say a word and just started shooting. I immediately pushed my fiancée to the floor.

"I also grabbed Elize and fled with the women."

Du Toit was wrestling with the robbers inside the house.

Meiring and Venter only discovered a short while later that Fivaz had been shot.

"She was very calm. The women and I went to the neighbours to contact the police and we heard shots in the house. I thought they had shot Fanie," Meiring said.

Du Toit said it was "a blessing from above" that he wasn't shot, Shots were fired while he wrestled with the robbers for their firearm.

"They told me, 'today we will kill you, you white p***'".


After bloody attack, they just want to leave

Hanti Otto

July 10 2006 at 08:06PM

Annelize Viljoen and Johmar van Zijl want to emigrate. They will stay only if crime levels drop.

They do not feel safe in their own country - where "the Constitution is just a piece of paper with no effect in real life".

Viljoen, Van Zijl and Andries Pretorius fell victim to five men who attacked and robbed them three months ago.

Pretorius fought off the robbers, who nevertheless escaped with goods worth thousands of rands. He is on anti-retrovirals after being bitten and scratched by the robbers, and receives counselling.

Three months later the scars of the bite marks are still visible on his body, and the robbers still free.

It was a Sunday afternoon in April when Viljoen and Van Zijl met Pretorius outside his smallholding in the Cullinan area.

At a "marker" similar to those criminals allegedly use to designate targets, the two men left their vehicles. The next moment five attackers stopped in front of them.

"They were less than 2m from us. One swung a brick at my head. I moved back and fell. As I took out my pistol, he aimed the brick at my face. I rolled onto my stomach. Then three of them were on me. They bit me on my head and arm, trying to get my gun," Pretorius recalled.

He managed to aim the pistol over his shoulder at the men clinging to his back. Pretorius fired a shot, injuring one of them.

"Another one hit me over the back of my head with a glass bottle. It shattered. They pulled my shirt over my head and one bent my thumb to get the pistol. I couldn't see. The next moment all three moved away. I realised they were going to shoot. I just rolled and rolled into the long grass," he said.

Van Zijl recalled the attackers saying: "Come here, you white bastards. We're going to kill you."

As they attacked Pretorius, he ran to the bakkie where Viljoen was sitting. Two robbers tackled him.

"I heard a shot. I didn't know who had fired. I was defenceless," he said.

Viljoen was still in the bakkie when someone smashed the window.

"There was this man covered in blood, armed, ordering me to get out. It was the man Andries had shot. I saw Johmar behind him, telling me to obey. As I climbed out, the man pushed me.

He left a bloody handprint on my shirt," Viljoen said.

The trio carefully moved back into the long grass while the robbers fled with the bakkie and their other possessions, leaving behind nightmares and detailed flashbacks that still haunt the victims.

This article was originally published on page 10 of Pretoria News on July 10, 2006


Cullinan - a community under siege

Hanti Otto

July 10 2006 at 08:07PM

In the past few years at least 19 people have been murdered in the Cullinan farming community. There have also been 19 incidents of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm, attempted murder and armed robbery. Entire families have been attacked.

These are just the "big" crimes the Cullinan Farmers' Union has recorded.

It excludes housebreakings, car theft, five cash-in-transit robberies in the past four years and the fact that almost every property has been visited by criminals at least once a year for the past seven years.

Emotions in the community range from very scared to very angry. Being at the mercy of relentless criminals was not their idea of a "free democracy where safety is guaranteed".

Many members of the community are negative about the police

"We are vulnerable as we cannot shoot to protect ourselves, and the criminals know it," one said.

The "lucky" ones were only robbed. Others were killed, raped, and assaulted, with the attackers sometimes not even taking anything.

Although many residents regard the attacks as racially motivated, they admit that black farmers and workers were also victims, and that survival was possible only because everyone in the area kept their eyes and ears open.

Gerhard du Plessis of Leeuwfontein says workers are first to notice strangers or recognise danger.

"We have to look out for each other; no one else is doing it," he said.

Henri Combrink, safety and security co-ordinator of the Cullinan Farmers' Union, said their area stretched from the Witbank highway to Moloto, including Leeuwfontein, Kameeldrift, Rayton and Cullinan.

This 1 400km2 area consists of almost 4 000 farms and smallholdings.

Although the community feels that the Cullinan police station commissioner, Superintendent Shoni Joshua Chauke, is trying his best, local police cannot do much with only six policemen - two of whom have to man the station - and two vehicles to patrol the huge area.

Combrink said Chauke's hands were tied by a lack of resources.

The union meets with police once a month to discuss crime prevention. However, due to the station's problems, many members of the community are negative about the police and do not even bother to report incidents, he said

Referring to the short intervals between attacks, Combrink said that in some areas residents were robbed three times a week.

"It's as if the goods the criminals steal are a bonus after the main goal - to kill. They come armed, indicating that they are prepared to use their weapons," he said.

Combrink said revenge and racial conflict seemed to be the main reason for the attacks. He believes most of the attackers are members of syndicates operating from Mamelodi, and that there is also a car theft group from Tembisa operating in the area.

"We are not succeeding in clamping down on crime. Just when the community manages to get the better of criminals in one area, they move to another," he sighed.

Andries Pretorius said there were only a few individuals willing to go out on patrol at night. He himself had discovered the bodies of murdered friends on a farm a year ago.

He said crime was not only affecting the direct victims, but everyone else too. Relating an attack on himself, Pretorius said his two daughters, aged five and 10, saw him covered in blood after the attack. It had been extremely traumatic for them.

Annelize Viljoen and Johmar van Zijl said that after an attack on them they had phoned Cullinan police and the Flying Squad. The first car to eventually arrive was from Mamelodi.

"Police later found my bakkie, locked. They didn't even take fingerprints," Viljoen said.

They gave their clothes, blood-soaked by an injured suspect, to the police. The last time they had asked, no DNA tests had been done.

A week afterwards police had still not inspected the crime scene.

Not long after the attack, Viljoen and Van Zijl spotted the robbers' vehicle on the Cullinan road.

They followed it and phoned the police. There was no reaction.

"I know it is nasty, but I just wish Thabo Mbeki or Charles Nqakula can for once experience the fear and helplessness we have felt. Maybe then the general public will become important to them," they said.

This article was originally published on page 10 of Pretoria News on July 10, 2006


'State is breaking its promise to protect us'

Hanti Otto

July 10 2006 at 08:42PM

The government is breaking its promise to protect citizens' constitutional rights, including their right to freedom and security.

This is the belief of the Cullinan farming community, left reeling after a spate of cruel and violent attacks.

Victims of four separate incidents are claiming more than R200 000 in compensation from President Thabo Mbeki and the Minister of Safety and Security Charles Nqakula for losses due to crime.

Louis Meintjes, chairperson of the Cullinan District Farmers' Union, which co-ordinates the claims, said: "The State is responsible for the safety of its citizens. If a service is not delivered, a client can withhold payment. Can we withhold our tax money until the State protects us?"

Ronel Cronje is claiming R15 000 a month from Mbeki. Her husband was killed by robbers recently. Her letter states that he was the breadwinner and that the amount claimed is to maintain the standard of living the family had before his murder.

Andries Pretorius and the two people who were attacked with him are claiming R78 155,88 for their losses.

A third claimant, George Lourens, wants R16 970 for the loss of a bakkie and equipment, while the fourth, Henry Chapman, is claiming R105 455 to replace stolen equipment.

"This is a new struggle for freedom... a struggle for a crime-free South Africa," the letters state.

The claims, instituted two months ago, have not been acknowledged by the recipients yet, the victims say.

This article was originally published on page 10 of Pretoria News on July 10, 2006


Monday, 10 July 2006

'Please don't shoot me'

10/07/2006 07:49 - (SA)
Buks Viljoen, Beeld

Leslie - "Please don't shoot me. Take my cellphone," a 10-year-old pleaded with an attacker who had shot dead an elderly relative in front of her on a farm outside Leslie.

Police have arrested a man in connection with the death of 72-year-old Sylvia Barkhuizen at the weekend.

She was shot dead in front of the child, on Kruisement farm outside Leslie in Mpumalanga on Friday night.

Barkhuizen apparently was shot dead with her son's firearm, stolen from his home earlier that day.

André Barkhuizen, who farmed Kruisement with his mother, said: "This is very, very difficult."

Shot her twice

He said his mother took several farm workers to town on Friday afternoon to do shopping, and she returned shortly afterwards.

Minutes after she and the child, who had been visiting her since Wednesday, got out of the bakkie, they were attacked by the man.

He apparently dragged Barkhuizen to the back of the bakkie and shot her twice - in the head and the stomach and she died within seconds.

The killer grabbed the shocked child and threw her on to Barkhuizen's body.

André Barkhuizen said: "The murderer searched through her pockets and just walked away."

He apparently saw the girl picking up her cellphone and dialling a number to contact her father in Brits.

The girl's father, who may not be identified to protect her, said: "I heard her yelling that Mrs Barkhuizen had been shot and, all of a sudden, everything was quiet."

The girl pleaded with the attacker: "Please don't shoot me. Take my cellphone," when he lunged at her while she was talking on it. He grabbed the cellphone and ran away.

The girl's father immediately contacted André Barkhuizen, who was on holiday in Durban. He dialled his mother's cellphone number.

When the girl heard the cellphone ringing, she apparently had to lift up the body to reach the cellphone.

André Barkhuizen said: "I told her to look for the keys to the vehicle.

"She found the keys and I told her to get in and lock all the doors and not to open them for anyone."

Arrested man had a pistol

Two of Barkhuizen's neighbours found the blood-smeared girl cowering in the bakkie.

Captain Manie van Zyl, commander of the unit against serious crime in Middelburg, has confirmed that they've arrested a man near Leandra.

They found a pistol, allegedly the gun used in the attack, as well as jewellery, in his possession.

Barkhuizen said several relatives of the arrested man had worked on the farm for years.