Monday, 26 February 2007

Mbeki Puts On Thinking Cap To Wrestle With Crime

©2007 By Ilana Mercer
February 23

My apologies; I’ve misled readers about my native South Africa. I called it the most violent place on earth outside a war zone. I was wrong. BBC World recently—and reluctantly—disclosed that South Africa jostles with Iraq and Colombia for the title of most violent country in the world, war zones included.

In a short segment, correspondent John Simpson reported that in South Africa, on average, 50 people are murdered every day (population: 47 million), 3 times that number are raped; and 300 are violently attacked and robbed daily. And these are the official, likely filtered, figures. They say nothing about the seldom-reported, hundreds of muggings carried out in broad daylight and captured by security cameras. According to Robert McCafferty of the United Christian Action, moreover, the South African Medical Research Council tallies 89 daily deaths; Interpol’s statistics are double those released by the police—a bent and brutal outfit whose chief has been linked to the mafia but has yet to be suspended.

When my family and I presciently left South Africa in 1995, it was still a country with a space program (on which my husband worked), “gleaming skyscrapers,” and department stores that rivaled Macy’s. The Central Business District in Johannesburg bustled. Crime was well controlled. When mobs stoned cars en route to the DF Malan Airport in Cape-Town (geographical names across the country have since been changed to expunge Afrikaans history), a tough and competent police force sprung into action. An equally impressive Western system of Roman-Dutch law dished out just deserts in response to "muti-murder" (ritual killing) or “necklacing” (placing a car tire around a putative offender’s neck and igniting it with gasoline).

A decade hence, the city of Johannesburg, renamed Egoli, looks like Mogadishu—streets strewn with garbage, many spectacular skyscrapers overrun by squatters, vandalized, or boarded up with brick by desperate owners. The five-star Carlton Hotel closed in 1997. The safety of its guests could no longer be guaranteed. Ditto other landmarks such as the Great Synagogue and the green glass Garden Court Hotel.

The specter is repeated across South Africa. Gun battles are commonplace on city streets. Shopkeepers often sit behind iron bars. Stories abound of soccer moms and dads being robbed during a game. As the Christian Science Monitor’s South African correspondent put it, “Nothing says ‘Home Sweet Home’ like 10-foot walls, electric fencing, burglar bars, and at least one panic button wired directly to an armed-response team.” Recent prominent victims of criminals include Nobel Prize-winning author Nadine Gordimer, assaulted in her Johannesburg home, and Anglo-Zulu War historian David Rattray, murdered in his Northern-Natal lodge.

So, to spare myself a future mea culpa, be advised that the BBC’s crime statistics were, in all likelihood, obtained from the police who’ve been less than frank about the scope of the carnage. Malfeasance, graft and corruption are all in a day’s work for a force hollowed out by affirmative action. If you object to this unflattering characterization observe them in action on YouTube. The BBC has filmed a fairly typical crime-scene intervention during which the police “think about” arresting a man who had stabbed another in the face, but … “change their minds. He is allowed back on the streets again.”

“Think,” of course, is the wrong word—especially when it comes to the brain trust of the ruling African National Congress. President Thabo Mbeki ignored the BBC’s otherwise incontinent exhilaration about everything else South-African, choosing instead to frame as racism the network’s newfound realism vis-à-vis crime. Mbeki wields this ad hominem like an assegai. He is, however, much less adept at logic.

“Nobody can show that the overwhelming majority of the 40-50 million South Africans think that crime is out of control. Nobody can, because it’s not true,” he admonished. Thabo “thinks” truth is decided by majority vote; Thabo “thinks” that if he could get a representative sample of South Africans to agree crime was insignificant, then that would settle the matter.

It so happens that South Africans are fed up (“gatvol” in Afrikaans) with crime. Why else would communities across the country be staging marches in protest? The futile purpose of these events is to present Mbeki with a petition. The premise for such folly being that the ruling kleptocrats are not only competent, but well intentioned and caring too. Thabo will take note, mind you, if the once-mighty Afrikaners take to the streets with their weapons, not with petitions and scented candles.

Mbeki’s ministers share his oil-and-water relationship to the truth. One of them told itvNEWS that when adjusted for population, levels of crime in the Unites States approximate those of South Africa. Lies. Going by the underreported police numbers, the murder rate in South Africa is 10 times worse than the US. According to the MRC figures, it’s 14 times worse.

At least the Safety and Security Minister is honest; he doesn’t conceal his racial hostility. “Only whites complain,” he smirked, adding that “they can continue to whinge until they are blue in the face, or they can simply leave this country.”

Saturday, 24 February 2007

Robbers shoot farmer's wife

23/02/2007 08:05 - (SA)

Bloemfontein - A Free State farmer's wife was shot and wounded during a robbery on Reitzburg farm near Vredefort, said police on Thursday.

Captain Magda Muller said four men asked Johan Roestorf, 58, to open his farm shop so that they could buy some cigarettes at 19:30 on Wednesday.

"His wife, Susan, 56, was in the kitchen and heard that they were having a fight."

Muller said the woman tried to run to her room and lock herself in, but the men followed and pushed the door open.

"They shot her once in the left side of her chest and took her back to the shop where they tied her up with a rope," Muller said.

Heard help was on way

Police said Roestof managed to untie herself and called for help on a private radio network.

Muller said one of the robbers heard on that radio that help was on the way, and they fled with two firearms, cash, a cellphone and jewellery.

Muller said the couple were treated at the farm and were not taken to hospital.

Police arrested a suspect shortly afterwards.

"It was suspected the man drove for the suspects," said Muller.


Robber paralyses sportsman

21/02/2007 23:32 - (SA)

Hilda Fourie, Beeld

Pretoria - Leoné Pitts, of Waterkloof Glen doesn't have the strength to be angry about husband Fred being paralysed from the waist down after an armed robbery on Tuesday.

"I just feel sore and empty," she said on Wednesday.

Pitts, a 53-year-old engineer, was going to gym about 04:30 on Tuesday.

He went to close his garage door after taking out his car and was attacked by two robbers.

He said from his hospital bed in Pretoria East Hospital: "I was just closing the door when two youngsters, I guess they were about 20 years old, walked in.

"One had a pistol and the other a knife. I shouted, in an attempt to scare them off, because my wife was asleep in the house."

Was left lying there

"Then I heard a shot, immediately felt numb and fell.

"The robbers turned around, walked casually to my car and took my cellphone, laptop and wallet before leaving."

The bullet went through his shoulder-blade, ribs, both lungs and spinal cord.

He lay there for 20 minutes before two neighbours drove past, saw him lying on the floor with the garage open, and phoned his wife. Pitts was conscious throughout.

Leoné Pitts said she was sleeping when the call came.

"They first asked if I was OK, and then said phone the ambulance, your husband has been shot."

Will never walk again

Pitts, who played provincial squash and had done the Argus Cycling tour four times, underwent an operation to remove the splinters from his spinal cord on Wednesday.

Pitts said her husband's condition was stable, even though he was paralysed from the waist down.

"Fred has the most beautiful legs.

I fell in love with those legs, and now they'll never walk again."


Boiling water poured on couple

21/02/2007 19:08 - (SA)

Pietermaritzburg - Boiling water was poured on a couple by burglars demanding safe keys and money, police said on Wednesday.

Inspector Joey Jeevan said Gan Carlo Canterelli, 64, and his partner Sue Simpson, 58, were asleep when five armed men broke into their home in a complex in Hilton on Tuesday morning.

Simpson woke to hear their dogs barking, went to investigate and was confronted by balaclava-clad men armed with guns.

Alerted by her screams, Canterelli rushed to her assistance, but was punched and shoved to the floor next to her.

The men demanded money, but Canterelli said he did not have any as he used only his credit card.

One of the robbers placed a plastic bag over Canterelli's head and throttled him.

Another robber, who had been ransacking the house, demanded the safe keys.

The couple gave the men the keys after being assaulted again and having boiling water poured on their backs from a kettle.

In a serious condition

The robbers took three firearms, €60, jewellery, a digital camera and a hi-fi system.

"It is believed that entry into the house was possibly gained via a dogs' trapdoor at the rear entrance into the kitchen or through an open bathroom window," said Jeevan.

Canterelli and Simpson were taken to hospital where they were reportedly in a serious, but stable condition with burns to their backs and injuries to their faces and heads.

Police have asked anyone able to assist in their investigation to contact the investigating officer Detective-Inspector Johnson Sindane on 033-845-6526 or 082-459-7454, or Crime Stop on 08600-10111.


Wednesday, 21 February 2007

Woman held suspect at gunpoint

Woman held suspect at gunpoint

20/02/2007 21:07 - (SA)

Pretoria - A woman confronted her neighbour's killer and prevented his escape from the murder scene until police arrived, Pretoria High Court heard on Tuesday.

Sonette Botha testified in the trial of a former law student, 23-year-old Lebogang Frank Mohlakoana, who pleaded not guilty to murdering and robbing Botha's neighbour, William Henry Thomas on May 8 2005.

The State alleges Mohlakoana had attacked Thomas with a knife and a dumbbell before cutting off his private parts.

He allegedly had loaded a television set and hi-fi into Thomas's car and was trying to flee when police arrested him.

Police found Thomas's naked body in a pool of blood inside the house and his private parts under a dressing table.

He had died of head injuries and loss of blood.

Neighbour investigated

Botha testified that she had heard people talking and the front door to Thomas' house inside their security complex being slammed several times earlier that evening.

When her dog started barking furiously about an hour later, she went to investigate and saw a man, dressed only in shorts, coming out of Thomas's house with a television set and loading it into Thomas's car.

The man went back into the house, but when her dog started barking again, Botha went outside and this time saw the man loading a hi-fi into the car.

She thought it was a housebreaking and went to fetch her firearm while asking her husband to phone the police.

She confronted the man, but he ran away. She followed and fired a warning shot, which made the man go back into Thomas's house.

Before he slammed the door, she saw the body lying on the floor.

Preventing an escape

By then, another neighbour had come to help her and the two of them guarded the back and front of the house to stop the killer escaping.

The man tried to jump over a wall, but went back into the house when Botha warned him that she was going to shoot.

She said saw the light being switched on in the main bedroom and bathroom and heard someone taking a shower.

She stayed on guard outside the house until the police called her and she saw the same man lying outside on the porch fully dressed.

Mohlakoana 'not seen before'

Botha said she had never seen the man at the complex.

Thomas's mother, Gertruida, testified that she had spoken to her son on the morning of his death, when he wished her a happy mother's day, but had not seen him again.

Counsel for Mohlakoana stated that he had known Thomas well and often visited him at his house, but Mrs Thomas said she had not met Mohlakoana before.


Monday, 19 February 2007

Doc choked in his own blood

18/02/2007 22:56 - (SA)

Marisa Phillips, Die Volksblad

Wesselsbron - "I heard my husband gurgling. I couldn't get up because my hands were tied behind my back. I heard him choke to death in his own blood."

This was the horrific description given by Mariana Strydom, wife of former mayor Dr Jan-Andries Strydom, who was murdered at his home on Saturday, on his 82nd birthday.

Strydom, who practised in the Free State town for more than 50 years, was overwhelmed, tied up and assaulted by a robber. He was kicked in the face several times.

The former mayor and town councillor did a lot of work in the black community. Mrs Strydom said he saw only black patients.

"He was on good terms with everyone."

Back door was open

Strydom was recently honoured for his selfless service to the community by the Afrikaans language and cultural association, the ATKV.

Mrs Strydom said she and her husband left his consulting rooms in the town about 11:00. She went to the shops and he went straight home.

"When I got home, the back door was open, but I didn't think it strange, because my husband often left it open for me.

"I put the food in the fridge and walked down the passage.

"At our bedroom, a man with a long knife charged at me."

The man grabbed her and tied her up, cutting her hand in the process.

On the floor in the room was her husband, his hands and feet bound with neckties.

"I told the man that we didn't keep any money in the house. Every time my husband groaned, the man kicked him in the face again."

"He forced me to open the safe, but there was nothing of value for him in there.

"He searched through my husband's pockets and kicked him again. My husband fell on to his back.

Died in his own blood

"The robber took the money in my handbag, gave the handbag back to me and ran off.

"I heard my husband gurgling. I couldn't get up because my hands were tied behind my back. I heard him choke to death in his own blood.

When she succeeded in freeing herself, Strydom was dead.

Superintendent William Mokwena of northern Free State police, said the robber got away with about R900. No one has been arrested yet.


Thursday, 15 February 2007

We both throttled her - youth

14/02/2007 19:14 - (SA)

Pietermaritzburg - Spectators listened aghast on Wednesday as a 15-year-old told the High Court that he and a companion strangled his 86-year-old benefactor who paid for his schooling and employed his mother.

The youth said that on Sunday they decided to kill Mooi River woman Rita Burdett, one of the founders of Treverton Preparatory School, to rob her of her car.

She lived in a house on the school grounds and although she retired from the school in 1990 she took an active part in its functioning, her church and the Women's Institute.

Her death left a void in the community, friends said.

Police were told that her car was being driven erratically and the police found her body in the boot of her car at Nottingham Road when the two youths were taken in for questioning and then arrested.

A post-mortem found she had died of asphyxia due to strangulation, although both youths said she was still alive when they wrapped her in a duvet and put her in the boot of her car which they drove away.

Defence counsel Zeera Fareed read out the confessions of both the accused to the court.

The 15-year-old's statement read: "...about 12 o'clock... I told accused No 1 to accompany me to her home. She was well-known to me as my mother was employed by her.

"We both planned to kill her and steal her car... we entered her home and found her seated... accused No 1 covered her face with a cushion cover. We picked up an electrical cord and we both throttled her with it.

"She was still alive when we took a duvet and wrapped her up in it... we did not know what to do with the body.

Refuelled the car

"We drove to Underberg... we realised we were running out of petrol... we drove to the house of a friend, Bongani Nzimande... we picked him up along with an empty container to buy petrol.

"We proceeded to Mount West garage... parked some distance from the garage while Bongani bought petrol and we refuelled the car.

"We experienced mechanical problems... while we were on the side of the road we were approached by the police.

"They became suspicious after we tried to mislead them... they took us to Nottingham Road police station... we were questioned and the police opened the boot and discovered her body.

"I acted in concert and in the furtherance of a common purpose to kill her and steal her vehicle.

Both expressed remorse

"I admit that I acted intentionally and unlawfully and that my actions have brought great pain and suffering to people, especially my mother. I am remorseful for my actions."

The 17-year-old's confession is similar and he also expressed remorse.

Judge President Vuka Tshabalala convicted the two of murder and aggravated robbery.

State advocate Candy Kander said that a probation officer must prepare a pre-sentencing report on the two and the case was adjourned to April 16. Both accused are to remain in custody.


Tuesday, 13 February 2007

Samaritan's body dumped in boot

12/02/2007 23:16 - (SA)

Dries Liebenberg, Beeld

Durban - The body of a woman who had helped a mom educate her son was found in the boot of her car on Sunday when police stopped it to check on the driving licences of the youth and his friend.

Rita Burdette, 84, a founder member of a private school in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, was found in the boot after police had stopped two youths, aged 17 and 18.

One of the youths is the son of a former domestic worker.

Burdette, a retired secretary of Treverton Preparatory School at Mooi River, was dressed in her nightclothes and a plastic bag had been pulled over her head.

The suspects were picked up about 18:00 on Sunday, driving towards Nottingham Road and about 30km from the school.

'Children' driving a car

Police spokesperson Joey Jeevan said a patrol car had stopped two youths in Burdette's red Volkswagen Golf, after motorists had phoned in to complain about "children" who were driving a vehicle.

Jeevan said: "The two suspects look young - as if they were only 14 or 15."

After police checked the car's registration number to trace its owner, they searched it and found Burdette's body in the boot.

Burdette was in her nightclothes, but her hands were not tied.

Jeevan said there was no sign of a break-in at her home, which overlooked the Treverton Preparatory School grounds.

Her spectacles lay on the floor of the doorway to the lounge, and detectives said this could indicate there was a struggle.

Police are investigating robbery as a motive for the killing.

Treverton headmaster Les Stanley said on Monday: "We are shocked. Her death has not really hit us yet."

Burdette worked as secretary at the school from its re-opening in 1964 until she retired, and was given permission to live on the premises afterwards.

She was a familiar sight in her little red car and was still active, said Stanley.

Guards didn't see her car

The police said Burdette was last seen alive at 11:00 on Sunday when she attended a service at Mooi River Baptist Church.

Security guards at the gate did not see the car leave the school grounds, according to Stanley.

The 17-year-old suspect appeared in court at Mooi River on Monday and the other suspect is due to appear in court soon.


'Cops can't protect themselves'

13/02/2007 08:38 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - A young policeman, who was the victim of an armed robbery over the weekend, said policemen could hardly protect themselves, never mind the public.

Sergeant Jonty Swart, 32, his wife Yolanda, 30, and four family members were attacked on Saturday night in their Pretoria West flat.

Swart, a police officer for the past 14 years, was about to unlock his front door security gate to let in his cousin, when he heard a voice telling him to open the door.

When he looked up, a man stood with a gun pressed to his cousin's head. Swart wanted to get his own gun, but he was afraid the gunman would shoot his cousin.

Swart unlocked the door and was pistol-whipped. Two robbers entered the flat and forced Swart and the others to lie on the floor. Their hands were tied behind their backs. They were assaulted and a curtain, which was pulled from the window, was thrown over them.

"They kept kicking us, hitting us and yelling 'you white policemen can't do anything'".

The robbers fled with R2 000 cash and other belongings worth R75 000.

Swart said the robbers even stole the wedding bands off his and his wife's fingers.

He said he didn't know how the robbers knew he was a policeman, and didn't understand their comments about white policemen.

"The police's hands in general are tied. If I had shot (a suspected criminal), I would have been in jail today.

"I too, am now a statistic, a victim."


4 up for raping farmer

12/02/2007 14:52 - (SA)

Johannesburg - Four men will appear in the Memel magistrate's court on Tuesday for robbing and gang-raping an Eastern Free State farmer, Free State police said.

Police spokesperson constable Mmako Mophiring said the four armed men raped the 33-year-old woman on Friday after she had given them cash, her wedding ring, watches, bracelets and bank cards with pin codes.

Her disabled husband, 48 was unharmed.

Police were investigating possible links to two attacks in October and January in which four men used the same modus operandi to rob farmers, Mophiring said. There was no rape in those incidents.

In Friday's attack, the gang - armed with two firearms, a crowbar and a knife - entered the house through a kitchen door left unlocked for farm workers to help the wheelchair-bound man.

The couple were asleep when the robbers, aged between 20 and 25, stormed into their bedroom at midnight.

Although they took the keys to an old Mercedes-Benz, they left the car behind. They found nothing inside the safe.

Newcastle police made an arrest on Saturday after being told that a man had used a credit card not belonging to him in a local shop.

He led the police to three other men, he claimed had given him the card, which was later found to belong to the couple. It had been used twice in Newcastle before the arrests, Mophiring said.

The man initially arrested would appear in court separately from the others on a charge of fraud, Mophiring said.

"The apprehension of the four suspects within 24 hours shows that we are heading somewhere," said Free State provincial police commissioner Amon Mashigo.

Farmers and farm workers would be protected, served and their complaints attended to on the same level as any other citizen, Mashigo said.

Memel is in the Eastern Free State, near the border with KwaZulu-Natal.


Monday, 12 February 2007

Robbers strike 7 times

08/02/2007 10:44 - (SA)

Amanda Roestoff, Beeld

Pretoria - A couple from Krugersdorp have been the victims of crime seven times - they had been robbed six times, and have just been attacked by robbers who took only R100.

Teresa van Zyl, 35, a personal assistant, and her husband, Jacques van Zyl, 37, a network engineer, were wounded in the latest incident. Their house in Fisk Street in Noordheuwel has been burgled six times.

They were in their garage shortly after 20:00 on Monday and had just paid a technician for repairs when a man armed with a gun ran towards them yelling and firing shots.

His accomplice waited at the entrance to the garage with a screwdriver in his hand, said Teresa.

She was wounded in her left calf when she tried to flee to warn her children, Amor, 11, and Jean-Jacques, eight, who were inside the house. At first she didn't realise she had been wounded.

While running towards the house, she screamed to warn the children and the neighbours. Her wounded husband arrived at the kitchen door while she was desperately trying to find the alarm button.

Only then did they realise they had been wounded. Jacques suffered a slight flesh wound. The bullet hit the inside of his forearm and got stuck in his side.

He underwent surgery on Tuesday and was discharged on Wednesday. She was still being treated in hospital.

The robbers fled with R100 they had found on Jacques.

"I'm afraid to return to my own home," said Teresa on Wednesday. "The government is wearing blinkers.

"We hear about everything that is being done about crime, but I don't see any of it," she said from her hospital bed.

Steven van Niekerk, chairperson of the Krugersdorp community policing forum, said crime was taking on critical proportions in the town.


'Sadistic barbarian' guilty

08/02/2007 22:52 - (SA)

Marisa Phillips, Die Volksblad

Parys - A "sadistic barbarian", who raped and tortured 72-year-old Eugene Schaefer before killing her, has been found guilty of murder.

The High Court heard that Schaefer, who was entertainer Soli Philander's mother-in-law, was murdered at her home by Matshwane, after he had watched her sleeping.

Judge Arrie Hattingh found Matshwane, 20, guilty of murder, breaking and entering with the intention of rape and rape, robbery with aggravating circumstances and theft.

After he had broken into her home, he watched her sleeping for about half an hour and, when she woke, he stabbed her twice in the neck.

He then raped her as she lay bleeding.

Thought of raping corpse

He stabbed her altogether 38 times, with a pocket knife and dagger.

He admitted that he considered raping her again after she had died, but he looked at his watch, and fled after deciding that it was getting late.

Matshwane said he used a condom so that there would be no evidence pointing to him.

Police found a condom in a toilet in Schaefer's house.

Judge Hattingh said Matshwane had stalked her like a wild animal with its prey, and had tortured Schaefer before killing her.

Most of the goods that Matshwane had stolen were of sentimental value. He had even taken photo albums and frames from her home, and put his own pictures in them.

Hattingh said Matshwane had seen that his victim was a defenceless, helpless and elderly woman, a soft target who lived alone.

"She was easy prey for his murderous tendencies.

Not only is he a murderer and a rapist, he is also a coward. He looks for something easy to attack."

Matshwane was armed with knives when he went to Schaefer's home.

"Like a snake, he slithered down the passage to her room.

"He is a self-confessed, sex-obsessed criminal.

Indecent photographs

"He carries a condom around with him like other people carry peppermints."

Judge Hattingh said Matshwane's room was covered with indecent photographs. He was on parole for house breaking when he murdered Schaefer.

"To call you a pig, would be insulting to the pig," said Judge Hattingh.

"Not even pigs would do something like that. I don't want to compare you with any other creature."

Matshwane was due to be sentenced on Friday.


'Everything happened very quickly'

Graeme Hosken

February 10 2007 at 12:07PM

A Pretoria man miraculously escaped death when he was shot at point-blank range in the head during a house robbery in the early hours of Friday morning.

The 9mm bullet lodged in his skull millimetres from his brain.

The close shave occurred when Groenkloof resident Larry Shulman, 63, surprised two men in the lounge of his home.

Shulman was walking around his Herbert Baker Street home after being woken by the house alarm when he was shot.

'I could not believe that I was not dead'

The attack, according to Shulman's rabbi Gidon Fox, is the second violent house robbery in the street in the past week.

Speaking from his hospital bed shortly before a four-and-a-half hour operation to remove the bullet lodged in his skull, Shulman said everything had happened very quickly.

"I was walking through the kitchen holding my walking stick when I noticed that the door leading into the lounge was open.

"As I put my head around the corner I saw two men standing metres away from me in the lounge."

Swinging his walking stick at the men, Shulman hit one of them over the head before he was overpowered and beaten to the ground.

'I do not know what I would have done if he had died'

Lying on the floor Shulman remembers a man leaning over him and a bright flash as the man fired his gun.

"I was in shock. I could not believe that I was not dead. Everything seemed to happen at once. I remember screaming for help and my wife running to me.

"I could feel blood all over me and thought I was dying," he said.

Neighbours who heard the gunshots immediately rallied around the injured Shulman as police raced to the scene.

A search of the neighbouring Klapperkop reserve where the robbers had fled led to nothing. Shulman said the robbers had forced their way into his home after breaking the burglar bars in the scullery.

"At this stage we are not sure if they took anything. It looks as though I surprised them before they could grab any of our valuables."

His shaken wife Ashney said she was grateful that her husband was alive. "It is a sheer miracle. God was looking out for him. I do not know what I would have done if he had died," she said.

Rabbi Fox said the attack and other attacks in Pretoria were mortifying. "According to our government, crime is not severe, but attacks like this are of great concern. What is even more worrying though is the government's apathy, which is even more frightening than the crime itself.

"This is very scary. In any other society the national police commissioner would be fired because of his apathy about the crime rate."

Police are investigating.



11/02/2007 22:57 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - The single word in red that appears on the cross on Brent Hiscock's grave in Pretoria East cemetery says it all.

Brent's mother, Barbara, says she chose this simple epitaph to express her heartache.

"I am heartbroken and angry and I want everyone to know that my child was murdered.

"And yet the government insists that crime's not that bad."

Brent was shot dead at his parents' plot at Zwavelpoort near Pretoria, on New Year's Eve.

"I've become the voice of my son and all of those who can no longer speak for themselves.

"I'd like someone to do a survey of all the solved and unsolved murders since 1994.

Hasn't heard a word yet

"I want to know how it's possible for the police to arrest, try and sentence David Rattray's murderers within a week."

Rattray, an expert on the Anglo-Zulu wars, was shot dead at his house near Fugitive's Drift Lodge at Rorke's Drift in KwaZulu-Natal at the end of January.

His murderers were traced and arrested within five days. One accused has already been tried and sentenced.

"Up to today, I still have not heard a word from the police about my child's murder.

"How often are the murderers arrested within days when there are famous people involved, while those who kill ordinary South Africans are never caught?

"The police didn't even investigate the crime scene properly, because two days after the murder my friend found a second casing about two metres from our veranda."

Hiscock says she used to be just an ordinary housewife, looking after her sick husband.

"Now, I have become a woman I hardly know at times.

"There are people saving their money to come to our beautiful land in 2010.

'See reality in the graveyards'

"Meanwhile, there are criminals here who are already planning to rob them of their possessions and their lives."

She has challenged people whose relatives have been murdered, to follow her example.

"Then those who make the decisions in this land can walk through the graveyards and see the reality," she said sadly.


Saturday, 10 February 2007

Dad puts robbers to flight

09/02/2007 08:03 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - A father in Daspoort, Pretoria West, threw one robber into his son's blow-up pool and "really thumped" another one, to protect his family.

Sarel Nel, 34, his wife Deidré, 34, and five-year-old son Christo, were overpowered by three armed robbers at their home at about 06:00 on Wednesday.

Nel went outside to see why his refuse bin was not in its usual spot. As he came out the kitchen door, the robbers charged.

Nel said: "One pointed a pistol at me and the other two grabbed my hands.

Pointed pistol at boy

"The one with the pistol grabbed my son, who was behind me, and held the pistol to his head while he pushed him through the kitchen door.

Nel's wife and their son were held in the kitchen.

Deidré said: "Every time the robber pointed the pistol at Christo, he shouted 'Mommy, they're going to shoot us!' "

The robber shouted at her: "Shut him up or I promise I will shoot him."

Meanwhile, the other two robbers were trying to force Nel back into the house.

"I knew that once we were all in there, we wouldn't have a chance against them.

"I managed to throw the man on my right into my son's inflatable pool. I gave the one on my left a good hiding."

The robber with the pistol put his head out of the door to see what was going on and Deidré Nel hit the alarm button. Nel also shouted loudly for help. The robbers ran off, with Nel chasing them.

"I caught the one who had been thrown into the pool. I think his wet track suit was weighing him down."

Found butcher's knife

Nel said the family's two Jack Russells were missing. He suspected they might have been poisoned and were lying dead somewhere.

They found a brick, a butcher's knife and tape on their property, presumably brought there by the robbers.

Police spokesperson Paul Ramaloko said a 22-year-old man had been arrested on a charge of attempted murder.

He is due to appear in court shortly.


Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Farm manager 'executed'

06/02/2007 16:49 - (SA)

Cape Town - The body of a 54-year-old farm manager was found in his house at Ambiance Stud on Brandwacht Farm near Worcester on Tuesday morning, Western Cape police said.

Superintendent Billy Jones said the body of Desmond Sterley was found under blankets in the bedroom of his home, where he lived alone.

He had a single bullet wound to the back of his head.

It was believed the incident occurred sometime between late Monday night and about 07:30 on Tuesday, when his body was discovered by farm workers.

Two vehicles reported stolen from the premises were discovered abandoned by police a few kilometres away from the farm.


Woman's body found half-naked

February 06 2007 at 03:28PM

The half-naked body of a 36-year-old woman was found in her house in Pniel near Paarl, Western Cape police said on Tuesday.

Police discovered the woman's body on Monday around 12.30pm.

"Her body was found on the bedroom floor with an electric cord around her neck," said Superintendent Billy Jones.

Jones said it appeared as though the woman had been strangled.

Police were informed by the landlord of the premises in Johannesdal on the R310, after he suspected something was wrong.

The woman was last seen alive on Sunday evening. Her white Nissan bakkie with registration CL 45199 was stolen, and a case of murder and robbery was being investigated.

Jones said anyone with information could contact the Groot Drakenstein police on 021-874-4000. - Sapa


Elderly woman found dead in Dana Bay

February 07 2007 at 12:56AM

A 66-year-old woman was found dead in the garden of her Dana Bay home, Southern Cape police said on Tuesday.

Captain Malcolm Potjie said the woman's body was found by her husband on Monday afternoon at their home in Dana Bay, near Mossel Bay. Her head was covered with a towel and a piece of wire lay near
the body, he said.

A post mortem will be conducted to determine the cause of death.

Family friends had earlier come to visit the woman but were told by the gardener that the woman was busy on the far end of the property. Not wanting to disturb her, they left.

Police believe the gardener was the last person to have seen the woman alive but he could not be found when the body was discovered.

The woman's husband identified the gardener only as Eliot or Elias and could not provide an address for him.

Police were investigating a case of murder and were searching for the gardener.

Potjie urged anyone with information on his whereabouts to contact the Kwanomquba police station on 044-693-0952 or the investigating officer, Inspector Esley Mollman at 083-427-3494. - Sapa


Monday, 5 February 2007

‘My seun is doodgemartel’



In ’n halfuur lange marteling het moordenaars die 21-jarige Ruan Ferreira in sy kantoor oorval en hom teen die muur gegooi.

Toe het hulle ’n bottel petrol byna leeg gemaak op hom, ’n vuurhoutjie getrek en hom aan die brand gesteek ...

Môre begrawe sy familie hom, maar die misdadigers is op vrye voet.

Die grusame voorval laat Maandagmiddag in die kantoorgebou van Key Distributors in Rustenburg het die dorp geruk.

“My seun is nie doodgemaak nie, hy is doodgemartel,” sê mnr. Gert Ferreira, ’n koshuisvader in Koster.

Ruan en ’n kollega was besig om die kantoor te sluit toe drie mans ingekom het. Die kollega het later vertel die mans wou geld hê. Toe hulle weier, is hy teen die kop geslaan.

“Elias was bewusteloos en my seun is aangesê om teen die muur te gaan staan.”

Die mans het petrol oor hom uitgegooi – waarskynlik in ’n poging om hom te dwing om vir hulle geld te gee. Steeds het die jong kantoorbestuurder gesê hy het nie geld nie.

Toe trek hulle ’n vuurhoutjie en steek hom aan die brand. Die mans het laat spaander. Ruan het daarin geslaag om uit die gebou te hardloop, Elias het bygekom en omstanders het die polisie ontbied.

“Ek kon nie glo dis my seun wat daar lê toe ek op die toneel aankom nie. Sy skoene was vasgebrand aan sy lyf,” het Ferreira vertel.

Ruan se klere was stukkies poeier, word gesê. ’n Bottel naby die toneel was die enigste leidraad.

Hy is na die Ferncrest-hospitaal geneem en toe later per helikopter na die Milpark-hospitaal in Johannesburg.

Ferreira en sy vrou, Maria, is soontoe. Hy het 90% brandwonde opgedoen en sy kans op oorlewing was skraal. Tog het Ruan opgewek in sy hospitaalbed gesê: “Hallo ma. Hallo pa”.

Die dokters het gesê sy toestand is gestabiliseer, hoewel hul oë iets anders gesê het, sê mnr. Ferreira.

Woensdagoggend is sy seun dood.

Mnr. Johan Colyn, een van die bestuurders by Key Distributors, sê sowat R800 000 se skade is aan die gebou aangerig. “Maar dis niks in vergelyking met die verlies van ’n wonderlike man soos Ruan nie.”

Die maatskappy het aangebied om al die mediese en begrafniskoste te betaal.

Oorsprong: News24,7718,752-795_2064105,00.html

'We're going to kill whites'

04/02/2007 23:14 - (SA)

Hilda Fourie, Beeld

Pretoria - "We are going to kill all you whites, a robber shouted at Martin Vermeulen, 28, this weekend, moments after shooting his friend.

Albie Greyling, 25, died on his mother's lawn in Eldoraigne, Pretoria, about 19:30 on Friday after being shot above his left eye.

Albie, a final-year paramedic at the University of Johannesburg, became engaged to Sandra Barnard in December, and made the final payment on the ring on Friday.

Yolanda Barnard, Sandra's sister, said Albie just happened to be at home on Friday.

He was to have gone to a braai, but first went to drop off his clothes at home. He stayed in Johannesburg during the week.

Cornered by the robbers

His 60-year-old mother Susan, was overpowered by three robbers in her flat about 19:00.

They hit her on the back of the head with a revolver and ran out of the house with R700 and her cellphone.

That's when the robbers ran into Martin and Albie.

They first fired a shot at Martin, but missed and Albie was shot.

Martin ran around to the swimming pool at the back, where he was cornered by the robbers. He told them to take everything, but just to leave him.

They saw their chance to escape and fled.

Yolanda said the robbers had spoken to Albie's mom in Afrikaans, "but what really upsets me is that they told Martin that they were going to kill all of you whites".


Friday, 2 February 2007

New Zealand News report on crime in the new South Africa

Nieu-Seeland se TV3 nuus rapporteer oor die moord, verkragting en misdaad wat buite beheer is in die nuwe Suid-Afrika.

New Zealand TV3 news report on the out of control murder, rape and crime in the new South Africa.