Friday, 27 October 2006

'They wanted to burn us'

25/10/2006 09:00 - (SA)

Aletta Otto, Beeld

Johannesburg - A Middelburg woman believes that a prayer stopped the pistol against her head from going off when the attacker pulled the trigger.

That was the opinion of an emotional Malie Botes, 44, from the Middelburg area, after an attack during which she and her domestic worker were held, assaulted and she was nearly killed by robbers.

The robbery took place about 12:30 on Tuesday on the family's farm Mooiplaas on the Groblersdal road.

Deon, Botes's husband, was not at home at the time of the farm attack.

According to inspector Gerhard Nell from Middelburg police crime investigating unit, the men went up to the house and asked the domestic worker for directions to the nearby grave of a certain traditional chief.

A 'miracle'

The worker's identity is being withheld on request of her family as they fear for her safety.

"They asked her for a glass of water and overpowered her when she came out of the kitchen. They held a firearm to her head and walked her to the swimming pool which Botes was cleaning," said Nell.

Botes and the domestic worker were forced into the house, where they were assaulted. "They beat us and kicked me a lot. They also beat us with the butt of their guns," said Botes.

While the robbers were searching for the safe, they told the domestic worker to switch on the iron because they apparently wanted to burn their victims with it.

Nell said the robbers did not go that far though, as they then gained access to the safe.

The domestic worker managed to escape and went looking for help.

"The robbers took me to the workers' homes, where they put a pistol to my head and pulled the trigger.

"I kept on praying and the pistol failed to go off," said Botes, crying.

The robber then aimed the gun at horses in the field and started firing. But although it did go off, nothing was hit.

"It's a miracle that I survived," said Botes.

According to Botes the men again assaulted her with the pistol before fleeing with money, a number of knives and her cellphone.

Despite quick reaction of farmers in the area, who had heard about the attack, nobody has yet been arrested in connection with the incident, which will be investigated by the unit against serious violent crime.


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