Tuesday, 11 July 2006

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


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