Tuesday, 19 September 2006

'Brenda, they've shot me'

17/09/2006 23:05 - (SA)

Mariana Malan and Eduan Roos , Die Burger

Johannesburg - "Brenda, they've shot me. Phone the ambulance - I've been shot."

These were the last words of Dominee Stefan Louw, 34, to his wife shortly before dying of his wounds after a failed robbery in his Westdene home in Johannesburg on Friday evening.

Louw, a minister of the Melville Kruisgemeente, apparently was shot in his bedroom shortly before 23:00. He crawled to his study to contact his wife, Brenda, who was visiting family in Cape Town.

Brenda said: "The shock made me practical. I first contacted the neighbourhood watch and afterwards Stefan's brother, Johan.

"Stefan was still alive when the security guards arrived, but he died shortly afterwards."

The robbers apparently gained entrance through a sliding door which Louw had kept open for their dog.

Brenda said: "He was someone who became very upset about violence. He had a lot of sympathy for people on the fringes of society.

'We could see he was dying'

"Sometimes, I thought he was too gullible and trusted people too easily."

Stefan's brother, Johan Louw of Northcliff, said: "Nothing justified this barbaric murder.

"He was apparently shot once in the chest in the bedroom and he then crawled to the study to phone his wife.

"The phone was off the hook and we could see he was dying."

He said it was tragic that his brother, who never thought twice about helping people, "paid with his life".

Louw's parents, Dominee Willem Louw, and his wife, Louisa, of Somerset West, arrived in Johannesburg on Sunday after hearing in Malawi about their son.

The 72-year-old retired minister, and his 62-year-old wife had been lecturing at a Bible school for the past three weeks.

They were told of Stefan's murder via SMS.

He said: "It's a big shock, but we're sure my son's murderers will make peace with themselves."

Left with anger, despair

Laurie Gaum, fired gay minister of the Dutch Reformed Church and a good friend of Stefan's, said the minister had been someone with an extraordinary sense of justice.

"He was a deep thinker and was someone our church couldn't afford to lose."

Stefan had deplored the decision to "keep Gaum out of the church" in a letter to Beeld in February this year and said he "was ashamed to be called a Dutch Reformed minister".

The head secretary of the church, Dr Kobus Gerber said: "The murder leaves one with emotions of anger and despair.

"How long must people of this beautiful country still experience this? People are tired of crime." - Die Burger/Beeld


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