Sunday, 29 July 2007

'We have pledged ourselves to kill whites'

July 24 2007 at 12:33PM

By Jade Witten

A DVD claiming the death of Nelson Mandela will increase racial tension in the country and spark violence, is doing the rounds while similar SMSes and emails are also being circulated.

Police are appealing to the public not to panic, saying they are aware of the matter and that it is under control.

In the latest incident, a 40-year-old Cape Town farming couple received a DVD in the post.

'I am not racist'

The Philippi farmers, Linda and husband Geoff Mohr, have been farming all their lives and have never received any threats or material of this nature before, she said.

The couple employs 20 people on their 45 hectare farm, where they farm pigs, cows and horses.

Mohr is very upset that this DVD was sent to her.

"Why me? Where did they get my name and address from?" she said.

The only reference to the origin of the DVD is the Pretoria stamp on the envelope in which it was packaged and one word "Suidlanders" written in pen on the disc.

"Suidlanders" refers to a far right-wing group with links to the Boeremag.

Mohr was "completely startled" when she watched the DVD.

"This tape takes me back to the apartheid era. I could understand if it was sent prior to 1994.

"I don't believe that this is happening in this day and age," she said.

Mohr added that the footage was offensive. Freedom fighters are filmed singing and subtitles are included.

"Go safely (Mkhonto), we sizwe, we the members of the MK have pledged ourselves to kill the AMA-Bhulu (whites)," they sing on the dvd.

"I am not racist. I am disgusted, horrified that this is still going on in our country," Mohr said.

She added that meeting Mandela was a highlight that she would treasure all her life.

Mohr is considering taking action but has not yet lodged a complaint with the police.

She is concerned that if the material lands in the wrong hands it could fuel mass paranoia.

The Cape Argus is in possession of the DVD which appears to have been compiled by a professional. It is neatly edited with bits of archive material complete with voiceovers.

National police director Sally De Beer said the police were aware of the "malicious" DVD, SMSs and emails doing the rounds in the country.

She said police were monitoring the situation and the "Suidlanders".

"They want to raise panic among South Africans.

"Twenty-one of their members are on trial for terrorism and sabotage," De Beer added.

She assured the public that the police were keeping an eye on the group and would not hesitate to act.

This article was originally published on page 5 of Cape Argus on July 24, 2007


Life for farmer's killer

July 27 2007 at 05:03PM

A man convicted of killing Indwe farmer Johannes Labuschagne last year was sentenced to life in prison by the Grahamstown High Court on Friday.

Sentencing Ludwe Mdyesha, 24, for murder, Judge Jeremy Pickering described the crime "as brutal and callous in the extreme".

"You shot him once and as he crawled away, and despite his pleas for mercy, you followed him and shot him again."

Labuschagne, 61, was murdered on his Vredepoort farm on March 6, 2006, when he returned from Indwe and found the three men ransacking his house.

He was shot once in the neck and then in the head, and died as he was being taken to a local hospital.

Judge Pickering also gave Mdyesha 15 years for robbery with aggravating circumstances, and three years for the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

These sentences will run concurrently with the sentence imposed for murder. He is currently serving an eight-year sentence for assault and two counts of unlawfully escaping from custody.

Mdyesha was escorted into court wearing handcuffs and leg irons.

His two co-accused - Mkululeko Tyiwa, 18, and Unathi Mbwana Thompson, 20, also from Indwe - were sentenced to three years in prison.

Tyiwa was sent down for housebreaking with intent to steal and theft, Mbwana for the unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.

None of the men showed any reaction on hearing their fate.

The three men robbed Labuschagne of two revolvers, a DVD player, video cassettes, tools, kitchen appliances, clothing, wallet, cellphone, boots and shoes.

All the items were recovered by the police who arrested the men near Indwe shortly after the murder.

The judge said the murder had had a devastating effect on Labuschagne's family and they were struggling to make ends meet.

"Theirs was a great loss and a traumatic experience. The deceased was a role model to his children."

Mdyesha's application for leave to appeal his conviction and sentence was denied. - Sapa


Friday, 27 July 2007

Lone cop battles gang outside school

Lone ranger: A hero police officer has taken on an AK-47-wielding gang in a battle waged outside a high school in Gauteng. Photo: Jennifer Bruce, The Star

Karyn Maughan

July 25 2007 at 07:08AM

A hero police officer has taken on an AK-47-wielding gang in a battle waged outside a high school - killing one member and injuring another.

Armed with only his service pistol, West Rand Dog Unit Inspector Okkie Vermeulen battled an eight-member gang that robbed the Standard Bank branch in Florida on Tuesday.

The remaining six gangsters made off with an undisclosed amount of cash - described as "substantial" by West Rand police spokesperson Captain Simphiwe Ndlovu.

Vermeulen heard about the bank robbery on his police radio and tracked the getaway car.

He was then forced to return fire after one of the gangsters, who noticed the police officer following his car, jumped out and started opened fire - just outside the Florida school, where hundreds of pupils were spilling out of the gates after their final lessons.

Fresh from a three-week firearm training course, Vermeulen felled the gunman - a Zimbabwean citizen out on bail for another bank robbery - by shooting him in a leg.

He fatally shot another robber in the head.

Ndlovu said the robber's AK-47 was "fully loaded" when he was shot.

"We can only thank God that he was stopped before many, many people were killed or hurt. It was a miracle."

The car was abandoned by two gangsters, who fled on foot. The others, in two other cars, managed to evade the cops.

Police officers said screaming schoolchildren had pointed them to the scene of the shooting, less than a kilometre away from the scene of the robbery.

"The children were traumatised … they didn't say anything, they just pointed," one officer told The Star.

The surviving robber - recovering in hospital - seemed far less disturbed by Tuesday's events.

Confronted by several members of the police's bank robbery unit, he greeted one of the officers by name and joked that "I haven't seen you for a while … are you well?"

The Star has learnt that the robbery was conducted by a highly professional gang known to the police, and which consists of several foreign nationals.

They are understood to have pulled into the parking lot behind the Standard Bank in Goldman Street, Florida, just before 2pm.

Armed with several AK-47 rifles, they stormed through the front entrance, forcing the bank's security guard to tie up his guard dog.

One of the men is understood to have used a hammer to smash the bulletproof glass separating bank tellers from customers to have cash passed through.

Terrified customers were robbed of cellphones and money before the gang left, carrying big bags of cash.

The latest crime statistics show that aggravated robberies - which include bank hits - are on the increase. Last year they jumped from 4,6 percent, from 119 726 to 126 558.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Star on July 25, 2007


'He gave his life so other people could live'

Graeme Hosken

July 27 2007 at 05:29AM

After fighting for his life for nearly 24 hours, the hero of Thursday's botched and bloody armed robbery at a late-night supermarket in Pretoria has been declared dead.

Gathered outside the entrance of Pretoria Academic Hospital's intensive care unit, Gert van Rensburg's family broke down in tears as doctors gave them the news.

Van Rensburg, 41, and his fiance, Patrys Claasen, 53, were caught up in the violence in Claremont on Wednesday night when five men, armed with an assortment of handguns, stormed Dealz Family Store.

It is believed that the robbers had been staking out the store, in Bremer Road, for several days before launching their attack - and may be responsible for two other violent business robberies in the area in the past 72 hours.

It is believed that the robbers had been staking out the store for several days

Van Rensburg, who was one of the first to spot the gunmen storming the shop, managed to push three children out of the supermarket before the robbers opened fire, shooting indiscriminately at customers and staff.

Van Rensburg was shot execution-style in the back of his head while dragging the wounded Claasen and a critically injured Wilma Venter behind an ice-cream fridge.

Claasen was shot in the buttocks and hand as she lay on the floor, while Venter was shot through the head while trying to push her way past the gunmen.

The robbers also shot cashier Aletta Koen and her boss, Paula Oosthuizen, who were behind the counter, in the legs.

They then shot and critically injured customer Jacqueline Grobbelaar, who was waiting to pay for her shopping.

'That man is a true hero'

The gunmen, thought to be in their early 20s, fled past Grobbelaar's husband, Gawie Maritz, who was cowering outside the shop behind his car with his mentally handicapped son Arno, eight.

The two had been waiting for her while she was buying milk.

One of the gunmen, who apparently tried to hijack Maritz, shoved a gun into their faces and opened fire, but the bullet missed them. The robber then fled, still firing at the two as they ran into the shop for cover.

Maritz on Thursday described how he saw Van Rensburg pushing three children from the store as the robbers launched their attack.

"That man is a true hero. I have never met him before, but what he did for the children and the people inside the store saved their lives," he said.

Maritz said the bullet that hit his wife, whom doctors spent seven hours operating on, pierced her left lung, spleen, colon and small intestine before lodging in her pelvis.

He said he and the other families owed a big debt to Van Rensburg.

"He paid with his life. He gave up his life so other people could live.

"Despite bullets flying everywhere he ran to help others," he said.

Maritz said he was battling to understand why the robbers had opened fire.

"It is really difficult and my son is battling because he does not know where his mom is," he said, adding that doctors had given his wife a 50 percent chance of surviving.

Before going into theatre for another operation, Claasen said she owed her life to her fiance. She had not yet been informed that he was dead.

Describing the attack, she said they had gone to the shop early so they would be in time to watch 7de Laan.

"I remember standing in the shop when I heard a bang and went lame and then falling into Gert's arms.

"I remember him pushing me down and yelling that I had been shot and there were robbers in the store. I tried to get up but he pushed me down again.

"As I looked at him, he grabbed me and the other woman (Venter) and started dragging us.

"I remember closing my eyes and praying. When I opened them again he was lying near me looking at me.

"There was blood everywhere and he was moaning. Bullets were flying as the robbers kept shooting. I did not know what to do. I just kept on talking to him, telling him to stay awake. He blinked and tried to talk, but couldn't.

"I will never forget that look. All I wanted to do was hug him and kiss him. I just want to tell him he is going to be okay," she said.

Claasen said everything had happened so quickly.

"It was like a movie. There was blood everywhere. People were screaming and begging for help. Bullets were flying everywhere and there was nowhere to hide.

"There was nothing we could do," she said.

Van Rensburg's brother, Frik, said the family had decided to donate his brother's organs after doctors declared him brain-dead.

"They will be given to people who need them to survive," he said. "We are battling. We are not coping."

Pretoria Academic Hospital spokesperson Freda Kobo said Venter and Grobbelaar were in critical conditions, while Claasen was stable.

Bougainville Hospital staff said Oosthuizen and Koen were also stable.

Police spokesperson Inspector Paul Ramaloko said no arrests had been made. "Charges of armed robbery, five attempted murders and one murder charge are being investigated," he said.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on July 27, 2007


Vrou word naby haar huis verkrag, beroof

Die pyn van misdaad. Die senuwees in albei hande van 'n vrou van Dorandia in die noorde van Pretoria is morsaf met 'n mes gesny. Foto: Leon Botha

Jul 11 2007 10:41:57:330PM - (SA)

Virginia Keppler

‘Ek het soveel haat in my. Ek is verbitterd.”

Só het ’n 39-jarige vrou van Dorandia, in die noorde van Pretoria, gesê nadat sy eergisteraand omstreeks 18:30 sowat 40 treë van haar huis af deur ’n gewapende man verkrag, beroof en herhaaldelik met ’n mes gesteek is.

Dié ma van drie kinders van onderskeidelik 21, 19 en 17 jaar oud, het daarna bebloed, met net ’n bra en een skoen aan haar voet in die straat afgehardloop terwyl sy om hulp geskree het.

Mense wat enkele huise van haar huis af woon, het haar gehelp en die polisie en ambulans ontbied. Die vrou het gister uit haar bed in die Pretoriase Akademiese Hospitaal gesê in albei haar hande is ’n senuwee morsaf gesny en haar hande is gebreek.

“Hy (die aanvaller) het my ook in my rug gesteek en só my een long stukkend gesteek. Hy het my ook herhaaldelik in die bors en bene en op my skouer gesteek en gewurg,” het sy hartseer vertel.

Dokters het eergister die senuwees in haar hande en arms geheg en haar wonde skoongemaak. Sy haal moeilik asem weens die besering aan haar long. Die vrou ontvang antiretrovirale behandeling ingeval haar aanvaller MIV/vigs het.

Volgens die vrou was sy op pad na vriende toe sy aangeval is.

“Ek het net gevoel iemand gryp my van agter af. Hy het my gevra vir ’n selfoon, wat ek laat val het toe hy my gegryp het. Ek het gesê ek het nie ’n foon by my nie en toe begin hy my met ’n mes steek en te slaan. Hy het my in die veld oorkant ons huise ingesleep, waar hy dit gedoen het.

“Ek het hom gesmeek om te stop, maar hy het gesê as ek nie ophou skree nie gaan hy my doodmaak.”

Die vrou het gesê ’n ander man het daar verbygeloop en die aanvaller het hom gevra of hy ook ’n “beurt” wil hê, maar die man het gesê nee en weggeloop.

Voordat haar aanvaller weggehardloop het, het hy gesê hy gaan ’n vuurwapen by ’n vriend van hom haal en dan terugkom.

Die vrou het vertel hoe sy verby twee vroue gehardloop het, maar hulle het niks gedoen om haar te help nie.

Die vrou se oudste dogter het gesê die man het met haar ma se selfoon en horlosie gevlug. “Ons het die volgende dag my ma se klere wat hy van haar lyf af geskeur het en haar hangertjie daar gaan optel,” het sy gesê.

Die vrou het gister gevra dat die regering iets daadwerklik teen misdaad moet doen. “Hulle moet die galg terugbring.”

Sy het gesê haar aanvaller het ’n beige broek en swart baadjie aangehad en hy het ’n merk in sy gesig. “Ek het hom ook in die gesig gekrap.”

Sy en haar kinders gaan vir berading sodra sy uit die hospitaal ontslaan word.

“Ek gaan vasbyt en op die Here vertrou. Ek weet dit gaan moeilik wees, maar met die hulp van my kinders sal ek deurkom.”

Insp. Paul Ramaloko, polisiewoordvoerder, het gesê die polisie ondersoek ’n klag van verkragting en aanranding met die doel om ernstig te beseer.

Oorsprong: Beeld,,3-975_2145608,00.html

Monday, 23 July 2007

Did SA regime know about Koesterfontein gold vein?

Date Posted: Monday 23-Jul-2007

Submitted by Adriana Stuijt:

How long did the SA regime know about the gold/uranium veins beneath Koesterfontein smallholdings in the Magaliesburg -- where an Afrikaner couple was lynched?

Why did the SA authorities ignore all those pleas for help from Richard Theron and Estelle van Dyk before they were lynched at Koesterfontein smallholdings, supposedly by a group of squatters? Who were these squatters really?

See the African Crisis posting on this lynching at: of Beeld newspaper described how a huge pile of documents, retrieved from a murdered Afrikaner's computer, revealed how coldly and consistently police and local politicians had all ignored countless pleas for help and protection from an Afrikaner couple who were living with constant death threats from 'illegal squatters' on their Magaliesburg smallholding at Koesterfontein - and how Richard Theron and Estelle van Dyk then had been lynched -- hacked and shot -- supposedly by a mob in June 2004.

Nothing was ever robbed and nobody has ever been arrested for this deeply mysterious lynching.

New information has recently come to light about valuable gold and uranium-deposits beneath the soil of Koesterfontein -- a fact which might shed some light on this mysterious lynching three years later.

The question might even be asked: was this lynching of this leading, top-educated Afrikaner couple on the Koesterfontein smallholdings actually a cover-up for secret prospectors on these smallholdings? In other words, was this lynching even more sinister than a supposed 'struggle over land occupation'?

Earlier this year, alarmed residents of Koesterfontein all had to hurriedly form an action group to protest against the government's secret plans to allow uranium and gold-mining on their land. It usually takes several years of prospecting before such licences are even granted.

SA government officials earn millions by granting such licences and often get jobs at mining companies in return for such licenses. It would therefore, have been very much to the officials' advantage to just keep on ignoring the pleas for help from this murdered couple.

In South Africa, landowners do not ever own any mineral rights -- these rights are always held by the SA government and once licences for prospecting have been issued by the regime, private landowners cannot refuse mining companies access to the land - even if they totally destroy it in the process.

Exactly how long had the SA government already known about the uranium/gold deposits beneath the pristine landscape of the Magaliesburg, and so close to Maropeng -- the "Cradle of Humankind Heritage site"?

On 13 February 2007 the local residents all had unexpectedly pitched up at a very poorly-advertised 'information meeting' at the local Swallows Inn, called by Koesterfontein Mining Consultants, who had apparently applied for licences from the SA government to prospect for uranium and gold in the area without anybody knowing about it.

The only advertising for the meeting had been on a sign board, well-hidden in the long grass on the corner of the Koesterfontein & Carletonville Roads, and placed there just a week before the meeting. It was only at this meeting that the landowners actually found out that the government had already granted two other mining companies prospecting licenses a year earlier. One landowner was shocked to discover that one licence was already issued for prospecting on his own land.

Koesterfontein residents were outraged by these unethical methods -- none had ever been personally approached norreceived any written notifications of any intent to apply for prospecting licenses at all - ever. At the meeting, residents were told that two other licenses had already issued to other mining companies. One of the landowners at the meeting was shocked to discover that one prospecting license had already been granted for his land.

Mining is planned to cover a substantial area of the Magaliesburg. Some licenses already issued are within 15 kilometres of Maropeng - the Cradle of Humankind Heritage Site - and within 3.6 kilometres of Magaliesburg town. But business owners in Magaliesburg seem to be largely unaware of this.

Magaliesburg is immensely valuable in terms of its biodiversity and historical significance. This will be destroyed if the government pursues its search for uranium to power the many nuclear reactors planned around South Africa.

IT-specialist Ben Oosthuizen of Randburg retrieved documents from the murdered Richard Theron's personal computer. The 59-year old Theron, a forensic auditor, was murdered on June 5, 2004, together with his partner Estelle van Dyk, 58 - a dedicated 'horse whisperer' -- an animal psychologist who rehabiliated abused horses. The wounds on their mutilated bodies revealed that the Afrikaner couple was hacked with machetes and also shot.

Bert Oosthuizen, an IT-specialist from Randburg who had done work for Theron, said the documents, dating from November 5 last year to January 30 this year, sketched a picture of two increasingly desperate, frightened Afrikaners whose urgent pleas for protection to the police and their local political representatives, had all fallen on deaf ears. Oosthuizen said the retrieved computer documents were addressed to the Magaliesburg police, the police commissioner and the Democratic Alliance MP, as well as other politicians.

In one letter, Van Dyk wrote that she and her black worker had received death threats from illegal squatters on the smallholding. "The illegal occupants have threatened that they will kill me, my horses and my dogs. They also threatened to kill Tshepo, who works for me," it reads. The letter claims the police were notified of the threats, but "they cannot do anything before anything really happens"...

Police inspector Pikkie Fourie of the West Rand unit against serious violent crime, asked to comment by Beeld newspaper, said that he 'was aware of past problems with squatters on the farm, but these have been sorted out..We are following up on a good number of clues," he said. Nobody has ever been arrested or charged for this lynching.

LINKS TO LYNCHING OF AFRIKANER COUPLE:,,2-7-1442_1540963,00.html,,2-7-1442_1539030,00.html

Source:African Crisis

'Heinous' murder of KZN farming couple

Ingrid Oellermann

July 23 2007 at 08:22AM

The KwaZulu-Natal farming community has been shocked by the brutal murders of a retired Swartberg farming couple at the weekend.

Raymond Fitch, 78, and his wife, Yvonne, 79, were killed just a week after another farmer at nearby Cedarville, David Southey, 79, survived a horrific attack.

The police's Organised Crime Unit was holding two men for the murders of the Fitches and two more in connection with the attack on Southey, on Sunday. They hoped to make further arrests soon.

KZN Agriculture MEC Mtholephi Mthimkhulu commended the police for "sterling detective work" leading to the swift arrests and appealed to people to give the police any information that could lead to more arrests.

'Shocking and dreadful'

He called the murders "heinous" and expressed condolences to the Fitch family and the farming fraternity.

Mthimkhulu promised that the government would work to strengthen farm protection and security initiatives.

The mother of one of the men detained for the Fitches' murders works on their farm.

Investigators did not believe that the attacks were linked.

The Fitches were severely beaten and possibly stabbed, and their farmhouse was ransacked in an apparent search for guns on Friday night. Their telephone, farm radio and alarm system were disconnected, indicating that the attack had been planned and that the assailants knew their way around the farm.

Police said some firearms were among the items stolen along with the couple's old Mercedes-Benz. The car was found abandoned within hours on a gravel road between Matatiele and Mt Fletcher, along with a safe. Two firearms believed to have been stolen from the farm were also recovered.

Southey was dragged bleeding around his home and was eventually left tied up with ropes and barbed wire by three assailants who threatened to pour boiling water over him.

He was robbed of seven firearms, jewellery, cash and his Isuzu bakkie.

Police arrested one man for that attack at Cedarville last Thursday and the second in Pinetown the next day. The latter was wounded during a shootout with police after he and two companions driving in Southey's stolen bakkie rammed into a police van when confronted.

Two of the men escaped.

Superintendent Zandra Hechter said police had found a .303 rifle with a telescope and a 9mm pistol in the bakkie and had recovered two more rifles in Phoenix.

The bodies of the Fitches were found on their farm, Two Springs, on Saturday by their son, Jeff, who lives 5km away on a second family-owned farm.

A friend, Peter Cloete, who was one of several locals who joined a hunt for the killers in his private aircraft, said the brutality of the assault on the elderly couple was "shocking and dreadful".

The Fitch family had lived in Swartberg for more than 30 years.

The President of the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union, Robin Barnsley, said the violence and brutality accompanying the most recent attacks on farmers was troubling. He said he and the presidents of other agricultural unions were concerned at the apparent degeneration in moral standards in rural areas and were exploring an initiative to address this issue.

"It is our firm view that the law must take its course and it is our intention, through the Kwanalu security desk, to monitor developments in this and other such cases to ensure that justice prevails within the confines of our legal system," Barnsley said.

He thanked Mthimkhulu for his support of the farming community.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on July 23, 2007


Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Elderly farmer terrorised

16/07/2007 22:55 - (SA)

Dries Liebenberg, Beeld

Durban - "Boil the kettle!"

That's what a gang of robbers told an elderly farmer because they were dissatisfied with the amount of money he'd given them.

They then put a tie round his neck and dragged him, bleeding, through his house.

The three attackers luckily changed their minds about pouring boiling water on David Southey, 79, and instead tied him up with ropes and barbed wire in his house on the farm Winterfold between Kokstad and Matatiele.

About five hours after the attack on Southey in the Cedarville area , his farmworkers were able to get him to his son's farm on an open tractor.

Robbers had been watching

Southey's daughter-in-law Jenny Southey said the attack was a big shock to all the farmers in the district.

The attack was the second in two days on Southey snr, giving the impression that the robbers had been watching him.

His wife Winnifred is on a visit to Britain at present and family members stayed with him until Thursday. Jenny said that after the family left on Thursday, there was an attempted break-in at the house that same night.

Her husband Martin went to see what was wrong after receiving a phone call from his father about a crashing noise that had woken him up.

They discovered that someone had broken a glass door at the well-secured home.

Police spokesperson Zandra Hechter said that when Southey went to close the farm gate as he did every evening, he was attacked.

Forced Southey to open the safe

Three men were hiding in the long grass. They stabbed him in the back and his hand before throwing him onto the back of the bakkie and driving to the homestead, Jenny said.

They forced Southey to open the safe at the house.

They took seven firearms, jewellery and cash before tying him up, cutting the telephone line and driving off in his bakkie.

Jenny said Southey managed to free himself after hours of struggling and went to ask nearby farmworkers to help him.

The workers took him on the tractor in the cold, in a state of shock, to his son Martin's farm. He was taken from there to Kokstad Hospital.

Southey snr. was reported to be in a stable condition.


'Oh! It's my turn now'

Elise Havenga is recovering in hospital. (Mario van de Wall, Beeld)

'Oh! It's my turn now'

17/07/2007 07:34 - (SA)

Annelene Moses, Beeld

Johannesburg - Elise Havenga, 70, prepared herself for the worst when two attackers walked into her bedroom in the security complex Boskruin Gardens in Randburg on Monday morning.

She was beaten up and when she regained consciousness, found herself lying tied up in a pool of blood.

Havenga was beaten black and blue and her arms and hands were covered in cuts and bruises from warding off the blows.

She was kept in Olivedale clinic on Monday night to monitor her head wound.

Punched her in the face

Havenga said she had woken up just before 02:00 because of strange noises.

"It sounded like the tiles on the roof and there was a sudden sharp noise. I got up and walked around the house, but everything looked normal to me."

Back in bed she began reading a newspaper. She probably fell asleep because her bedside lamp was still burning when the two robbers walked in.

"I saw just two of them and the back one had something black in his hand. I assumed that it was a firearm. One of them started to say something but I just screamed."

One of the men walked around the double bed and punched Havenga in the face.

She screamed harder and another blow fell.

Havenga does not remember what happened after that, but she woke up on the floor on the far side of the bed.

"I saw the blood and realised that I must have been lying there for quite some time. Both my hands and feet were tied up with scarves."

She managed to free her hands, but had to wriggle her feet out because the knots were so tight.

She unlooked the front door and a security guard went to her assistance. Meanwhile, neighbours who heard her shouting had called the police.

The robbers made off with jewellery, including wedding rings that belonged to her parents and her late husband Herman, who died four years ago.

She also lost her grandfather's gold watch-chain which she had inherited and always wore around her neck.

"I wore the three rings on one finger to have them with me always.

"These things have tremendous sentimental value to me."

They also took her DVD player, CD player, cellphone, a digital camera and liquor from the cabinet.

Havenga said it was very difficult for her to accept that crime had become so much a part of people's daily lives.


Father gave his life for his daughter

Graeme Hosken

July 17 2007 at 04:17AM

A Pretoria community has been devastated by the murder of a prominent city businessman who gave his life so that his teenage daughter could live.

Solomon Manie Maritz, 48, was shot on Saturday night while trying to fight off a gang of armed robbers holding him and his 15-year-old daughter at gunpoint.

It is believed the gunmen, two of whom were arrested within hours of the murder, had been waiting at Maritz's home in Constantia Park for the family to come home. They had been attending a wedding.

Maritz, a senior manager at BMW, is believed to have been shot while trying to fight off the robbers, one of whom was holding his daughter around the neck.

'He lived for his family and he died for his family'

Maritz and his daughter, who neighbours and police declined to name, arrived at their home in Andries Strydom Street moments before his wife and their toddler got there. It is thought that Maritz was ambushed as he walked through the garage door towards the patio and into the house.

Neighbours tried to save Maritz's life. They said he kept asking if his daughter was alive.

"Even though he was dying, that was all he was worried about," said one neighbour.

Neighbour Dup du Plessis said Maritz had sacrificed his life so his family could live. "He lived for his family and he died for his family," he said. Another neighbour said the community was devastated by Maritz's murder.

"It is shocking. It is too ghastly to contemplate.

'I am terrified'

"Why do things like this have to happen? Why do these people have to kill and maim for something like a cellphone?" she asked.

The woman, who asked not to be named, said she was getting into bed when she heard gunshots.

She said the screams of Maritz's daughter, who saw her father's murder, would stay with her forever. "They were chilling. They just carried on and on. I will never forget that sound," she said.

"It is terrible. This madness must stop. We simply cannot go on living like this.

"This slaughter has to be stopped."

Neighbour Line Nel said she and her husband were devastated by what had happened.

"I am terrified. These attacks happen weekly.

"Something has to be done to stop them. We cannot live like caged animals anymore," she said.

Nel said Maritz was a wonderful person who loved his family. "I can't believe he is dead."

Garsfontein Community Policing Forum chairperson Nick Pascoe said the killing highlighted how violent crime had escalated in the area.

"I am extremely worried because we are losing people to violent criminals regularly."

BMW spokesperson Guy Kilfoil said Maritz had worked for the company for 24 years. "He was 100 percent committed to his job and 200 percent committed to his family.

"They were his priority and came above anything and everything else," he said.

Kilfoil said Maritz, who was manager of the after-sales department, was full of life.

"He was highly respected, extremely knowledgeable and unbelievably well liked. He was a real people's person."

Police spokesperson Inspector Paul Ramaloko said two men would appear in court later this week on charges of murder, possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition and armed robbery.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on July 17, 2007


Saturday, 14 July 2007

Black crime in South Africa

Black Crime in South Africa - Part 1 of 4

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Black Crime in South Africa - Part 2 of 4

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Black Crime in South Africa - Part 3 of 4

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Black Crime in South Africa - Part 4 of 4

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Wednesday, 11 July 2007

SAA pilot, wife attacked

SAA pilot Nico Grobler, 52, recovers in hospital after being attacked by robbers in his bedroom.

SAA pilot, wife attacked

11/07/2007 08:29 - (SA)

Christel Raubenheimer, Beeld

Pretoria - An SAA captain is in hospital with a bullet wound after robbers attacked him and his wife on Tuesday - for the second time in four days in a "safe" security complex in Pretoria.

Thieves also broke into Nico Grobler, 52, and his wife Poppet's house on Friday and stole her television set.

Two armed men attacked the couple in their bedroom in Mooikloof Gardens about 02:00 on Tuesday.

"One of them seemed to be having trouble cocking his gun and I charged at him," said Grobler from his hospital bed in Pretoria East Hospital.

A shot went off and hit Grobler in the leg.

In the pandemonium Grobler closed the bedroom door and locked it, keeping the robbers out. His wife wasn't injured.

Couple overpowered in bedroom

Grobler got up about two hours earlier, after their two Jack Russels started barking furiously. The two dogs can get out from the garage, but a door between the garage and the house was locked.

Grobler investigated when the dogs continued barking.

"They desperately wanted get inside the house, which they don't normally do," he said.

At least two robbers must already have been on the premises at the time. They broke open the back door, sneaked into the house and overpowered the couple in their bedroom.

That's when Grobler overpowered the robber while he was struggling with his gun.

"I don't know why I charged at them. My action was triggered by him battling with his gun. I couldn't just sit and wait for him to fix the gun," said Grobler.

The robbers grabbed Mrs Grobler's handbag on their way out.

Armed burglaries increased by 25%

"10111 (the police emergency number) failed to answer and I was sitting in the bathroom, bleeding.

"I called the head of the complex's security and the guard at the gate and eventually the police arrived. The robbers must still have been inside the complex, because there's no way out. And it is supposed to be safe inside," said Grobler.

He would probably be discharged from hospital on Wednesday.

Armed burglaries have increased by 25% over the past year, according to the latest police statistics.

The couple already had a 2,4m wall surrounding their house and on Tuesday had an alarm system installed in addition.

Grobler has been a pilot with SAA for the past 29 years. "It's a flesh wound. It didn't hit the bone. I will still be able to fly.

"I'm scared and angry. This is the second incident in four days inside a security complex," he said.


Robber grabbed key from boy

11/07/2007 09:46 - (SA)

Alet van Zyl , Beeld

Heidelberg - A 12-year old boy was stabbed at least 11 times with a knife inside his parents' house by a robber who had apparently grabbed the security gate key from him from outside.

Philip Roos and his sister were at home alone in Jordaanpark at about 10:00 on Tuesday.

He was stabbed at least seven times in the chest, three times in the back and once in the head. He was airlifted to Netcare Milpark Hospital in Johannesburg, and was in critical condition on Tuesday evening.

The robber apparently fled with a DVD-player and the house keys.

A resident in the neighbourhood, who drove past the house shortly after the attack, saw the bleeding boy on the pavement in front of the house.

Philip told her the robber had hammered on the door asking for food. He told her that his dad had warned him never to open the door to strangers, "but the robber didn't want to stop".

It seemed Philip wanted to open the front door, knowing the security gate was locked. The robber apparently grabbed the key from his hand, unlocked the gate and entered the house.

After the robber had fled with his loot, Philip apparently realised he would have to go outside for somebody to notice him.

Neighbour Hannes Fourie, who arrived at the scene soon afterwards, said something like a "doll's dress" was hanging around Philip's neck and that he might have been strangled with it.

"There were blood marks on the walls where he'd clung to it," said Fourie.

"Auntie, we were attacked. He (the robber) stabbed me in the heart," Philip told the woman who found him. "He asked us to stay with him because he was dying," she said. "He kept saying his sister had been kidnapped," she said.

Neighbours searched for the sister inside the house and found her after she'd appeared from her hiding place. Although her exact age wasn't known, she seemed to be about seven years old.

"She didn't want to talk. We asked her if the robber had touched her, but she said said no."

"I think she saw everything until the robber started to strangle her brother," said the woman.


Monday, 9 July 2007

We came home from Oz to our worst nightmare

Published:Jul 08, 2007

I write in a state of utter sadness. After reading “Beefed up police stations turning crime fight around” (July 1), I was compelled to respond.

On June 22, the worst nightmare became reality.

I was at work at 1pm when the phone rang. I saw it was my home number, “the wife”, and tapped “silent” since I was in mid-conversation.

It started ringing again and again I pressed “silent”, planning to call at the end of the conversation, in two minutes.

The third time I excused myself and answered the call.

On the other end of the line was the rasping voice of my wife: “I have been shot at home and am bleeding badly, please help!”

This was 40km away.

I ran past reception and shouted for them to phone the police while I got in my car and raced home.

I was greeted by a sight which will haunt me for years to come ...

We had returned in May from Australia, after I completed a 16-month project in New South Wales.

We had returned to evaluate our options and decide whether to stay in South Africa or not.

It can’t be as bad as they say, we thought.

My almost four-year-old son and almost two-year-old daughter were settling in nicely.

We had spent some money on the house we had bought just prior to leaving, and built a prefab wall around the perimeter of the stand in Inchanga, not 200m from the Comrades route. This was to improve security a little, but this was a safe area.

We were looking forward to settling into the new home after an extended period of travelling. After all, we weren’t the same as all the others South Africans in Oz — we wanted to stay.

That day, my wife had run some errands and collected my son from school .

As always, she clicked the button and the gate slid open, and she drove into the yard, with the kids taking an afternoon nap in the car — peace.

As she pulled up next to the house and looked towards the door, she saw a guy climbing out of the window and another standing in the house.

He said, “Hello, we are taking some stuff,” and stood there while the other started to climb out.

She realised this was a problem and reversed the car . She reached the T in the drive-way and as she looked up she saw the first man round the corner of the house and raise a gun. She heard a shot. The window burst and she kept going. Another shot, and her arm flew off the wheel.

The car slewed to the side, out of control, and stopped 15m from the gunman.

She felt a burning sensation in her shoulder and arm and the gushing of blood down her side.

A man appeared, grabbed her by the throat and shouted and swore at her for trying to leave.

My son was still sleeping in the back of the car, but the little girl watched as the madman shook her mom around and poked a gun in her face.

He demanded and took car keys, money and cellphone and, with a final insult, ran away, leaving a shocked and severely bleeding 50kg woman to her own fate.

She managed to retrieve the house keys from the car and staggered into the house to call me, while I was pressing the “silent” button on my phone — something I will never do again.

She staggered back to the car and tried to unbuckle my frantic daughter from the car seat, but was losing strength.

She left her there and staggered into the road to call for help.

I arrived 20 minutes later to find her sitting in the car, bleeding terribly.

Since the services were on strike, there was no ambulance in attendance.

I took her to the nearest casualty ward.

She had surgery the next morning — four hours to insert a plate to gather the badly fractured pieces of the upper right arm and to remove the bullet from under the skin in the front of her chest.

It has been a blur since then. Fear, confusion, children not understanding, pain — why did they shoot her?

So, I sit here alone in my home, alone because I cannot bear leaving my people in this house while I leave — for any reason.

I read your article and think that it is utter bull, since I have not once, not even from the police themselves, had any indication that there is a possibility of catching these beasts.

This after good fingerprints were lifted and the bullet was recovered (from the chest of my wife).

Sadly, with this, we have been pushed to leave our beloved, hated South Africa .

We join the ranks of leavers — an engineer and a nurse, who yearn to live in and contribute to the country of their birth, a country that does not want them.

Today I watched as one of the many police vehicles you speak of was in a shopping-area parking lot being loaded full of civilians and shopping bags.

I guess that one was off duty.

— Ex-South African, Inchanga

Source: The Times

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Mom gone, so family packs bags

July 06 2007 at 02:16PM

Knowing that the killers of their mother and wife are still on the loose is what is driving the Saaiman family to emigrate.

Zelda Saaiman, 49, a housewife, was gunned down in the garage of her Brooklyn home on August 24, 2006.

The killers fled the family's Marais Street home with only Saaiman's handbag.

The Saaiman family believe that the police's inability to catch the killers and their "unwillingness" to keep them informed of what is happening with the case is withholding them from getting closure and moving on with their lives.

'It is really difficult for the children'

Saaiman's husband Gert said their children Bianca, 20, Gert junior, 18, and Jessica, 15, were battling to come to terms with what had happened.

"It is really difficult for the children. They find it hard to understand why the killers have not been caught and why the police seem to be ignoring us," said Saaiman.

He was in Mozambique on business when his wife was killed.

Gert Saaiman said the police had not come back to the family since his wife's murder. "We have had absolutely no feed back from the police. No one has come back to tell us what is happening with the case."

His children were suffering knowing that the killers were still on the loose," said Saaiman.

His family would only start getting closure and be able to move on with their lives once the killers were arrested and taken off the street, he said.

The murder had shown him that there was no future for his children in South Africa, he said.

"We are making plans to leave the country," he said.

Bianca said it was terrible not having justice served. "It makes my mom's murder even more difficult to deal with. We want these men caught so that no one else has to lose a mom or a dad," she said.

Her mother was like a best friend to them, she said. "She was like an older sister. She was always there for us. She would always make time for us."

Police spokesperson Captain Lucas Sithole said no arrests had been made. "The investigation is continuing."

This article was originally published on page 4 of Pretoria News on July 06, 2007


Thursday, 5 July 2007

Brave grandfather saves his family

In shock: A devastated Derick Taljaard describes how his father died while trying to fight off four armed men. Photo: Phill Magakoe, Pretoria News

July 05 2007 at 04:22AM

By Barry Bateman

Four-month-old Anlia will never have the opportunity to get to know and be loved by her grandfather, Albert Taljaard, 63, who died trying to save a family.

The trip to Pretoria from Cape Town was supposed to be a happy family reunion for Anlia's christening on Saturday, but ended in tragedy when four armed men attacked his son's home in Buffalo Creek, The Wilds.

A devastated Derick Taljaard described how his father pushed him into a room and tackled the robbers in an attempt to save the family. "My dad saved my life; he saved my children's lives," he said, nursing the arm he injured in the attack.

'I noticed a man with a cap peeking into the house'

Derick said he tried to put his son Zander, 3, to bed at about 8.30pm on Tuesday night, but the boy was restless so he took him to his wife Alda upstairs.

He said he had some work to complete but checked the house to ensure all the doors were locked, but noticed something at the dining room door. "I looked out of the window and I noticed a man with a cap peeking into the house at one of the other windows.

"At first I thought he might be one of our domestic worker's friends but then I saw three more men."

Derick said he hit the window hoping to scare the suspects away. "But that was not the case.

"I got my cellphone and returned to the door. A man was pointing a gun at my head. I saw out of the corner of my eye that the rest of the guys were running around the house.

'My dad pushed me into the study and I heard him hitting them'

"I dived under the table for cover and crawled away. I was shouting to let everyone in the house know something was happening."

Derick said his father came down the stairs and the two of them made their way to the front door but were confronted by the suspects. "We don't have weapons, but I wish we had.

"My dad pushed me into the study and I heard him hitting them. As I went up to the children I saw them shoot my dad.

"I ran up to the room and tried to lock the door but it wouldn't lock," he said.

He heard about five shots.

Alda said all that was going through her mind was: "Not my children, not my children."

The couple think the suspects fled when the family they had called arrived at their home.

Alda said she went downstairs to find Taljaard barely alive. "I could see by his moustache that he was breathing very shallowly.

"I felt his neck but couldn't feel anything. I put a blanket over him and we decided to take him to hospital. He died on the way," she said.

The suspects escaped with two laptops and other personal items.

Derick said he raised the security issue at a recent meeting. "There have been squatters living in this complex. There is no security here. I built here because of the security for my children, but where do we go to from here?" he asked.

Gerhard Swart, who serves on the complex's recently formed security committee, said that at the annual meeting residents were up in arms about the state of security.

Police spokesperson Captain Lucas Sithole said police were investigating a case of armed robbery and murder. No suspects have been arrested.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on July 05, 2007


Hijacked mom grabs babies

Elsabe Taljaard, who escaped hijackers by jumping from a moving car clutching her two sons, holds baby Ruan after the ordeal. (Leon Botha, Beeld)
01/07/2007 23:09 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - A Pretoria mother and her two babies had a miraculous escape from hijackers when she jumped from a moving car with her two babies clutched tightly in her arms.

Elsabe Taljaard, 27, her husband Thys, 43, and their two sons, one-year-old Roelof and eight-week-old Ruan were attacked at their house in Alouette Street, Elardus Park at about 19:15 and robbed of their car by four armed men.

Thys said he and his wife had just pulled into their garage when the drama began.

"When I opened the car door, they were standing there - all four of them.

"We started fighting and one of them pressed his gun to my head. I just stood still.

"Another robber pressed a firearm to my wife's head and tried to steal her jewellery."

"I handed over the car-keys to them and one of the robbers got in."

Thys said Ruan was still in his baby-seat in the back and Roelof was sitting on his mom's lap.

"The robber suddenly reversed out of the garage at high speed, tearing off the door on my wife's side.

"He drove about 300m down the road, turned around and drove past our house again.

"Meanwhile, my wife had managed to get the baby out of the baby-seat and when they were about 400m from our house, she jumped out clutching them both, " said a still-shocked Thys.

Elsabe and the two children apparently were not injured.

Neighbour shot

A neighbour, Anthony van Tonder wasn't so lucky.

He was shot when he and Thys ran after one of the robbers.

Van Tonder's wife Michelle, had seen what was happening at the Taljaards.

She called her husband, who ran out "and shouted at the robbers to scare them off".

"He shouted that they should leave the mother and children," Michelle said.

Anthony, a pastor at the Church Coalition International (CCI), was still in Pretoria East Hospital's high care unit on Sunday, said Michelle.

"The Lord is our shepherd, but we must also do our bit," she added.


Knife Gang victims relive their horror

Facing the music: The much-awaited trial of the notorious Sandton Knife Gang has finally got under way. Photo: Boxer Ngwenya, The Star
July 05 2007 at 07:50AM

By Alex Eliseev

One of the families terrorised by the notorious Sandton Knife Gang has fled South Africa and another are considering abandoning what they describe as "the best country in the world".

The much-awaited trial of the men accused of breaking into some of the country's most secure homes, and using their victims' kitchen knives to execute the robberies, finally got under way on Wednesday.

A day earlier, police revealed that violent house robberies in South Africa had shot up 25 percent, and Sandton topped the list of affluent areas most targeted.

A brave Brenda Ward relived how she and her husband were robbed while their nine-month-old son slept next door. When asked to identify the knife-wielding men who attacked her, Ward stepped out of the witness stand, walked along the dock and slowly stared into the eyes of each of the eight suspects.

Just like at a police identification parade last year, she pointed out three men, including alleged gang leader William "Big Spender" Lehasa.

If the Wards immigrate, 20 of their business employees would be out of work and their families without a breadwinner.

When magistrate Renier Boshoff asked whether they had made up their minds, Ward said: "We've applied, but, considering that this is the best country in the world, we're thinking about it."

Ward said she only recently began sleeping again and could not forget the horror of waking up to three robbers jumping onto her bed about 4am. She was recovering from being an "emotional wreck".

Police arrested the suspects in July last year, after they had allegedly breached at least 18 secure complexes. During their alleged spree, they are suspected of stabbing an 18-year-old karate champion and at least three other victims.

One Sandton man was stabbed 17 times. The gang allegedly fled with up to R700 000 worth of stolen goods per attack.

Lehasa, Simon Shilenge, Tshepo Foster and the Quvane brothers - Siphelele, Mluleki, Gigimane, Richard and Dumisane - have been charged with 21 counts of housebreaking, robbery, attempted murder and possession of stolen firearms.

The trail covers 17 robberies that the state hopes to pin on the gang. On Wednesday, all the accused pleaded not guilty.

Ward and another witness, Lesley Maxwell, described how they awoke to find intruders in their bedrooms.

Both families were tied up and guarded while the gang ransacked their homes and loaded up their cars.

Maxwell's gold Jaguar was stolen and the Wards lost their BMW X3 and Audi A4 convertible. The cars were, however, recovered.

In both robberies, the gang fled with electronic goods, clothes and the family's firearms.

Maxwell testified that he woke up after he heard his wife having "a bad dream". It turned out she was already struggling with the robbers.

For both families, the terror lasted more than an hour.

At the Ward home, the attackers - who wore black beanies and dark clothes - apparently waited in the back garden before striking.

Maxwell lost over R200 000 in the robbery and Ward said her loss was about R150 000.

The trial was postponed to early September and is scheduled to take five days.

This article was originally published on page 2 of The Star on July 05, 2007