Thursday, 30 August 2007

'Now I know what it feels like'

30/08/2007 07:09 - (SA)

Anel Naude

Cape Town - "I have done so many stories on people who were attacked and robbed on farms, but I only now fully understand what they went through."

Estee Booyens, editor of Cape Son's sister publication, Son Noord, said this after she had a close call on Wednesday morning.

Hours after an armed attack on her and her photographer husband, she could still recall the bullet brushing past her face.

It was the second shot - the first went into her pillow.

They woke up at 01:30 when a man tried to kill them on their smallholding in Muldersdrift.

An angry Booyens said the following day from her office: "David immediately jumped over me and hit the man unconscious with one blow through the window."

But there was a second attacker.

"I jumped up. In the process, the second shot missed me by inches," said Booyens.

In the kitchen, she threw plates, cups and bowls at the second attacker, trying to prevent him from entering through the glass doors.

The police told her that it probably created the impression that she was shooting at the intruder.

"David and I felt safest in the kitchen. It was very dark in there. He asked me all the time whether I was okay. When I touched his hand, I could feel it was wet."

"I realised that he was bleeding heavily. We were trapped in the kitchen and there was no chance of escape."

Booyens called the police and their tenants. The tenants' son had to guide the police, who lost their way, to the smallholding. He waited for them along the road and gave them directions.

Superintendent Thembi Nkhwashu, spokesperson for police in Gauteng, said the police first react to incidents where people are injured. She undertook to investigate this incident.


Thanks for killing him - widow

30/08/2007 08:11 - (SA)

Sanri van Wyk, Beeld

Johannesburg - The widow of a murdered Johannesburg man was in tears when she called the man who allegedly killed her husband's murderer, to thank him.

"She said she wanted to thank me for killing the man who had murdered her husband. She said she knew it wouldn't bring her husband back, but it made her feel better to know that justice was done," said Alan Madden, 49, on Wednesday.

Madden shot three robbers who waited for him near his garage in a security complex at about 21:45 on Tuesday.

One of the robbers, a Mozambican citizen, died at the scene.

'It would be the end'

Another one's body was found at about 11:00 on Wednesday morning in a field next to Hans Strijdom Drive near Strijdom Park, Randburg.

The third robber was still at large.

Superintendent Louise Eksteen, commander of a special housebreaking task team in Honeydew, said she and colleague inspector Michael Erasmus were investigation the possibility that Madden might have fired the bullet that killed the second robber, whose body was found in Randburg on Wednesday.

Madden said he was returning home after a visit to his girlfriend and wanted to put away his bakkie.

He saw running figures, but at first thought they were the neighbour's children.

"I noticed that one had a gun. The next moment they had surrounded me. One was armed with a gun, another one with a knife and the third with a screwdriver.

He shot and screamed

"They spread my arms and held them above my head.

"They forced me on my knees, put the gun to my head and searched me. When one of them crouched down to untie a shoelace with which to tie me up, I realised I had to act or it would be the end."

Madden said he managed to keep his left leg straight as he had his gun in its holster concealed near his ankle.

When the robber crouched down in front of him, he took out his gun and stood up.

"When they saw I had a gun, they tried to take it and I felt a blow against my head.

"I pulled the trigger and emptied the magazine on them while I screamed."

"One of them fell down dead and the others kept running."

The neighbours called the emergency services and police.

According to Madden the widow from Northworld phoned him on Wednesday afternoon to thank him.

Beeld reported on Wednesday that Justin Browne, 31, from Northwold had died of a stab wound to his neck after four robbers, one of them armed with a screwdriver, another with a firearm and two armed with knives, overpowered him and his wife Georgie and their two children before plundering their home.

Eksteen confirmed that the task team was investigating the possibility that the same men who had overpowered Madden had also been involved in the incident at the Browne house.


Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Dying victim names attackers

28/08/2007 12:41 - (SA)

Johannesburg - In his dying breath, an elderly Klerksdorp handyman told police he had been attacked by the men who worked for him, North West police said on Tuesday.

Hannes van Wyk, 70, was beaten with a spade, stabbed several times and left for dead behind the garage of the home in Wilkoppies where he and his crew were working on Monday, said Superintendent Louis Jacobs.

The 10-year-old son of the owners stumbled across the critically injured man at 17:00 when he heard noises and went to investigate.

Van Wyk was still alive when paramedics arrived. As he drew his last breaths, he told the police it was his workers who had attacked him.

It was then that the police realised the two workers had made off in Van Wyk's bakkie. The vehicle was later found abandoned on the outskirts of Klerksdorp, on the road to Stilfontein.

Although four men in the vicinity were picked up by the police for questioning, they had since been released as they could not be linked to the incident, said Jacobs. Investigations were continuing, he said.

He said that apart from the bakkie, nothing was taken "that we know of".


'Thank goodness for skinny legs'

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

Sanri van Wyk, Beeld

Pretoria - It's a good thing that he has such skinny legs, Mina Barnard says of her husband JJ, 26.

He had a miraculous escape at the weekend when a robber's bullet passed right through his pants.

The bullet then struck a family member's car.

Barnard didn't have a scratch and no one else in the family was injured.

Only oil flowed

Barnard said the shooter was detained shortly afterwards by police who had been called to investigate a robbery three blocks away.

Barnard said he was visiting the home of a family member, Katrien Schoerie, in Claremont, Pretoria on Saturday evening.

They were sitting in front of the television between 19:00 and 20:00, he said, when they heard a noise that sounded like "someone jumping on corrugated iron".

"I went to have a look. I saw a man and asked him several times what he was doing on the property. He just kept on walking (towards me).

"At the back door he put out his hand. I grabbed it to punch him. When I grabbed at him I saw the firearm and heard a shot."

Barnard said the bullet went straight through his jeans, ricocheted and went right through the diff of Schoerie's Ford Escort which was parked under a shed at the back door.

The shooter ran off and Barnard went back inside.

Schoerie asked him where his brother-in-law's children Christo, 9, and Vick, 4, and their two friends were. They'd been playing outside earlier.

"I went for another look. There was no sign of the shooter. And there was no sign of the children in the hut where they'd been playing.

"I walked back in again and saw their heads popping up one after the other behind a cot. They'd run to hide when they heard the shots."

Barnard said he was very lucky.

"When I got back inside after the shot everyone said I should look for blood, but there wasn't any.

"All that flowed was the Escort's oil, through the bullet hole in the diff," Barnard said.

The first thing he intends to do now is to apply for a firearm licence.

"Next time I'll shoot back," he said.


'I did not care whether I died'

Crime control: Fred van Oudtshoorn with his R44 Raven II helicopter which he and his wife used to help community members catch armed robbers. Full Story Photo: Phill Magarce, Pretoria News

Graeme Hosken

August 29 2007 at 10:23AM

A crime-plagued Pretoria community spurred on by a vicious attack on an elderly city doctor on Tuesday rallied to hunt for the culprits and helped apprehend them.

More than 50 Boschkop residents in vehicles, on foot and in a helicopter, swarmed through the area east of the capital early on Tuesday morning, capturing three of four men who attacked Dr Fred Liebenberg at his home.

Liebenberg, 69, an orthopaedic surgeon at Little Company of Mary Hospital, was beaten over the head as he was about to get into his car.

The men, two armed with revolvers, tackled Liebenberg and dragged him from his vehicle demanding money as his dogs barked frantically around him.

'All I was concerned about was my wife, that was all'

Spotting his wife Hannelie, 53, in the kitchen doorway, Liebenberg screamed out a warning urging her to lock herself inside before he was pistol-whipped.

As one of the attackers charged at his wife the others shoved a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.

"I did not care whether I died. All I could think about was that Hannelie should live.

"My own safety did not enter my head at all.

"All I was concerned about was my wife, that was all."

'They are true angles. It restores one's faith in humanity'

When the gun "just went click" he did not know "whether I should shout, scream or run".

Hearing his wife radio community members and police for help, the attackers panicked, abandoning his vehicle when they could not open a security gate.

Community members hearing the distress call raced to block off roads and fields as the gunmen escaped on foot with Liebenberg's briefcase and car keys.

Boschkop resident CD van Reenen said that when the call for help came everyone dropped everything.

"Nobody thought twice. We just went. People were setting up roadblocks while others searched fields and footpaths," he said.

A farmer, who caught one of the gunmen fleeing through his field, radioed for support.

As residents surrounded the field, Fred van Oudtshoorn and his wife Jennie took off in their R44 Raven II helicopter circling overhead as people searched the field.

Jennie directed her husband from instructions radioed to her from those on the ground.

He flew his helicopter low over a clump of bushes, flushing out one of the suspects who ran straight into the search party.

Van Oudtshoorn said it was the first time he had used his helicopter in such a situation.

"If it had not been for everyone in the community we would not have caught the men. It was a team effort and everybody deserves praise," he said.

Anton Bell, Boschkop community neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, agreed. He said the helicopter, vehicles and foot patrols played a big role in catching the attackers.

Liebenberg said he had been overwhelmed by the support from the community and the police.

"I do not know most of these people, yet they were willing to come to my rescue when I really needed them.

"It is incredible what they did. They are true angles. It restores one's faith in humanity," he said.

Police spokesperson Captain Tessa Jansen confirmed three people had been arrested.

They have been charged with attempted house robbery, house breaking and pointing a firearm.

She said that one man had escaped.

Anyone with information on the man's whereabouts or identity can contact Crime Stop on 08600 10111.


Tuesday, 28 August 2007

'Mommy, mommy, daddy is dead'

Baldwin Ndaba

August 28 2007 at 08:44AM

For R200 and a couple of rings, Justin Browne died in a pool of blood in his home in front of his young children.

Browne, a general manager for the event company Strike Productions, died after assailants slit his throat in his Northwold, Randburg, house on Saturday night.

According to Geordie, Justin's wife, the family were in their bedroom when their dogs started barking.

Geordie and Justin went to investigate but were confronted by two armed men. "One had a gun and another a knife. The one carrying a knife confronted me while the other went for Justin. They pushed us back into the bedroom," Geordie recalled.

The couple tried to shield their children from the attackers, who demanded guns, jewellery and money.

The attackers also took Geordie's wedding and engagement rings off her fingers.

She said the assailants tied them up and again demanded guns from them. As they did this, Justin told her that he loved her and then kissed her.

"You are a police officer - where is your gun? Our tip told us you have a gun. Where is the (Toyota Corolla) RSi," Geordie recalled the men saying.

Two more armed men arrived and they started loading a plasma-screen TV and computers into their car, an Audi A4.

They then took R200 from her purse and removed her husband's wedding ring.

Geordie managed to free herself and ran to another room to press a panic button.

It was only later that she realised she had been shot in an arm during her escape attempt. While she was in the room, her two children, Daniella ,7, and Robin ,4, came running to her shouting "Mommy, mommy, daddy is dead".

She didn't believe her children and called a friend, a nurse, who rushed to her home and attempted to resuscitate her husband, whose throat had been slit.

Geordie said later: "I cannot leave this country. I am not going to use this as a scapegoat. I will rely on God's strength."


Monday, 27 August 2007

More child killers, rapists

26/08/2007 22:53 - (SA)

Sanri van Wyk, Beeld

Johannesburg - Child criminals are more likely nowadays to rape and kill than to steal.

This increase in violence in the crimes committed by children is causing great concern, says the Department of Correctional Services.

Manelisi Wolela, spokesperson for the department, told Beeld on enquiry that in 2000 children had been more likely to have been involved in"economic crimes" such as theft.

"In the past six years a disturbing pattern has emerged. Figures showed in 2006 that more children had been involved in violent crimes such as murder and rape," he said.

Wolela said from 2000 to 2006 there had been an 8% increase from 35% to 43% in the number of children admitted to institutions involved in the rehabilitation of juvenile offenders.

The number of children detained for committing economic offences decreased by 11% during this period, from 49% in 2000 to 38% in 2006.

Childline national co-ordinator, Joan van Niekerk, said sexual offenders as young as six and seven had been admitted to Child and Family Care rehabilitation programmes for juvenile criminals.

She said that there was also an increase in the number of juvenile offenders being admitted to the programmes.

"It's difficult to link this to numbers, because the police often don't open a file in such a case as they think the offenders are too young for prosecution.

Sexual offences, "bullying" and children who stole from others at school were the most common offences among children, she said.


'He aimed to kill'

26/08/2007 23:27 - (SA)

Naranda Nell, Beeld

Nelspruit - "You could see that the robber was shooting to kill."

That was the reaction of an eyewitness following the death of a young resident in an upmarket Nelspruit suburb who was hijacked and shot by two armed robbers while his wife looked on.

Garry Nightingale, 27, and his wife Nicky were returning from a family member's birthday party in separate cars to their home in Vuurvliegie Street, Steiltes at about 22:30 on Saturday night.

Nicky drove in first to where the robbers were apparently already waiting for them at their home in the posh suburb.

The head of the local branch of the CID, Gerrie Agenbag, said the robbers hijacked Nightingale's white Hilux bakkie shortly afterwards and fired two shots in the process.

The eyewitness, who lives nearby and who they had dropped off at his home moments earlier, saw the robbers shoot Nightingale.

The high school pupil, who does not want to be named, said the one robber shot Nightingale twice - once in the face and once in the back.

"The robber turned around calmly and jumped on the bakkie.

"You could see he wasn't afraid and not in a hurry at all. He shot to kill.

"He stared straight at me and drove off.

"I ran into our yard and hid, because I was afraid that they would follow me."

The boy said a Hi-Tech Security paramedic who arrived tried in vain to save Nightingale's life.

"The ambulance took a long time to arrive," the boy said.

It appeared as if Nicky's handbag with her cellphone and purse inside had also been stolen.

The owner of the house, John McIntyre, is a friend of the Nightingales who had let the place to them.

McIntyre said the Nightingales had been married a year in May.

They lived in Mozambique where Garry was in the Unitrans sugar-transporting industry and regularly worked in Tanzania.

"They moved to Nelspruit about two months ago."

Gaven Bullen, Nightingale's brother-in-law, was shocked and stunned.

"It's a horrible thing that has happened to our family. Nicky is still suffering from shock and you can see it hasn't yet sunk in."

The manager of Hi-Tech Security in Nelspruit, Jakes Strydom, said it had been difficult to get information from Nicky because she was still too shocked.

The bakkie was seen shortly afterwards on a farm road on the N4 to Pretoria and Hi-Tech had followed up the report.

Neither bakkie nor suspects have been traced as yet.


'I love this country with a passion'

By Nomfundo Mcetywa

The widow of Alan Paton, the author of Cry the Beloved Country, is angry that a letter she wrote 10 years ago is being used in support of the arguments of people protesting about the crime rate.

Anne Paton, 81, said she was shocked to hear that the letter was being circulated by e-mail, with minor editing.

The letter was published a decade ago in the London Sunday Times.

In the letter, Paton said she intended leaving South Africa because of the "endless suffering" caused her by crime. She had been hijacked and mugged and nine of her close friends had been murdered.

The final straw was being attacked in her home in Durban shortly before her 71st birthday.

Reacting to the resurfacing of the letter, Paton said: "I am very keen to know who is behind the circulation of these emails. I just don't understand why a letter I wrote 10 years ago is being raked up now.

"I have written a lot of letters talking about South Africa, which were also published in newspapers. Why is this letter being singled out now? I think that it is ridiculous and mischievous," said Paton.

In the letter, Paton said she was glad that her husband, who became known for his speeches and writing about the injustices of apartheid, had not lived to see the new South Africa.

"I was so sorry that he did not witness the euphoria and love at the time of the election in 1994.

"But I am glad he is not alive now. He would have been so distressed to see what has happened to his country," wrote Paton.

She said she was leaving South Africa not only because of "black-on-white crime" but because of the "general lawlessness" that had gripped the country since the demise of apartheid.

"I love this country with a passion, but I cannot live here anymore. I can no longer live slung about with panic buttons and gear locks. I am tired of driving with my car windows closed and the door locked, tired of being afraid of stopping at red lights.

"I am tired of being constantly on the alert, having that sudden frisson of fear at the sight of a shadow by the gate, of a group of youths approaching, though nine times out of 10 they are innocent of harmful intent - such is the suspicion that dogs us all," Paton said in the letter.

"President Mandela has referred to we who leave as 'cowards' and says the country can do without us. So be it. But it takes a great deal of courage to uproot and start again. We are leaving because crime is rampaging through the land," said Paton.

She went on to write that there was more racial tension in the new South Africa than in the old one.

She quoted a character in Cry the Beloved Country who said: "I have one great fear in my heart - that one day, when they are turned to loving, they will find that we are turned to hating."

This week, from her home in England, Paton said she stood by every word she had written in the letter.

"At the time I wrote that letter, that was how I felt about South Africa. I cannot comment about the current situation, as I am no longer a citizen of the country.

"I now live a quiet life in England and want nothing to do with South Africa," Paton said.

"Mandela did call us cowards for leaving we were called all sorts of names, but I have no regrets about leaving. It is a decision I took based on the circumstances at the time."

Her step-daughter-in-law, Margaret Paton, who lives in Johannesburg, said the letter had caused a "big stink" when it was first published.

"It's strange that somebody is circulating it again.

"They are just using the Paton name to advance their cause because there is currently a big furore over crime.

"Anne did not want to leave South Africa; she loved this beloved country.

"She just became nervous and anxious and dreaded being around here after all those bad things had happened to her," said Margaret Paton.

She said that, despite the high level of crime, she would not leave the country.

"I love South Africa too much.

"It's no lie that crime is out of control, but we will just have to face it and deal with it. I have hope that things will improve," she said.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Sunday Independent on August 26, 2007


Three held after woman thrown down cliff

August 26 2007 at 02:51PM

Three men have been arrested in connection with the murder of a 63-year-old woman who was strangled and thrown off a cliff by three men, Kwazulu-Natal police said on Sunday.

Last Thursday Lynette Oosthuizen was allegedly murdered by three men on her farm, said police spokesperson Senior Superintendent Henry Budhram.

One of the men was apparently a former security guard on her farm.

Budhram said after strangling her, the men ransacked her house and then allegedly took her body and threw it down a cliff in the Nkwezela area of Bulwer.

The arrests in the case came on Friday after two men were found in Imbali driving a stolen Colt bakkie belonging to Oosthuizen's husband.

They also had a wallet containing banking information and a driver's licence belonging to Lynette Oosthuizen.

A third man was found later in Incwadi in possession of property belonging to the deceased, including a rifle, ammunition, DVDs and jewellery.

Severe weather conditions meant the police, with a search and rescue team, could only retrieve the body on Saturday.

The arrested men will appear in the Impendhle magistrate's court on Monday.

Police investigations continued. - Sapa


Lynnwood man killed

Hanti Otto

August 27 2007 at 08:20AM

By Hanti Otto

A 25-year-old man, who lived in a Lynnwood security complex, was killed in cold blood when he went to investigate a noise on Saturday morning.

Details of the incident were sketchy, but police spokesperson Captain Lucas Sithole said Francois Viljoen of Lynnwood Glen was woken in the early hours by a noise at the sliding door of the house he shared with his mother. He went to investigate.

"Several shots were fired and Viljoen was hit once in the upper body. He later died at the Wilgers Hospital," Sithole said.

No arrests have been made. Police are investigating charges of murder and robbery with aggravating circumstances.

Police could not say on Sunday what, if anything, had been stolen from the house, saying Viljoen's mother was still too traumatised to give details.

She could not be traced for comment.

The killing of Viljoen came a week after two shooting incidents in Lynnwood in which a retired city doctor of education died and a senior economist was seriously injured in separate house robberies.

Dr Cilliers Snyman ,65, a former headmaster of Hoerskool De Grendal in Cape Town, was shot dead in his home.

This was 30 minutes after Development Bank of SA economist Frans Jacobs ,63, was attacked and wounded in his home. The two houses are less than 1km from each other.

Both men were watching television when the attackers gained access to their homes. Police said at the time they believed the two attacks could have been linked.

This article was originally published on page 3 of Pretoria News on August 27, 2007


Saturday, 25 August 2007

Hijacked man kicks for help

Kallie Kriel, who was hijacked and forced into the boot of his car, shows the size of the hole he made by kicking out the brake lights to let his leg hang out. (Elise Tempelhoff, Beeld)

24/08/2007 10:06 - (SA)

Elise Tempelhoff, Beeld

Sasolburg - The victim of a hijacking who spent hours trapped in his car's boot was so desperate to get help - and fresh air - that he kicked out the car's brake lights and let his leg hang out to attract attention.

He kicked out one of the brakelights with his heel and pushed out the other one with his elbow because his hands were tied and he was lying with his back to the rear of the vehicle.

Kallie Kriel, 26, a salesperson from Alberts Auto, said he was driving through the industrial area of Sasolburg at about 12:00 on Tuesday on his way back to work when a man suddenly jumped in front of his car.

"I indicated to the man through the window to be more careful, as I could have knocked him over," he said on Thursday.

Kriel said the next moment he turned his head to the right and looked into a pistol. He went "ice cold" and realised he was being hijacked. The men forced him to open the doors.

A third, "elderly man who spoke only Sotho", got into the Volkswagen Fox with the two younger ones.

The two younger men ordered him in "perfect Afrikaans" to drive to Heilbron.

One of the men kept the gun pointed at Kriel, asking him whether he wanted to stay alive.

They later forced him to turn off in the direction of Deneysville.

'I was afraid of dying'

"We drove a few kilometres before they told me to stop and get out. I hoped that they would take the car and leave. I told them to take the car and leave me there, and that I would walk back to Sasolburg."

The men told him to get into the boot.

"I refused and told them I suffered claustrophobia."

The men tied his hands behind his back, put the muzzle of the gun inside his mouth and "beat him into the boot". They slammed the boot shut and drove on.

"It was pitch dark. I was having difficulty breathing and it was very hot. I kept thinking about my baby son, Tristan. I was afraid of dying."

Kriel realised his cellphone was still in the back pocket of his pants. He took it out and "climbed with his legs through his tied arms. With his arms in front of him, he was able to remove the radio's loudspeakers in the back window. "A bit of light and air was allowed in."

Kriel called his father Kallie, his employer Christo Alberts and the police. He also called his wife Sandy, but she couldn't hear him because of a poor signal.

Kallie Kriel snr later called back and told him to kick out the brake lights. He put one of his legs through the opening and hoped somebody would realise something was amiss. Several cars passed.

He then heard the hijackers quarrel. One told the driver to stop and that he "didn't want anything more to do with the affair".

The car stopped and he heard the doors slam. It suddenly became quiet. He waited for "what felt like hours".

First an Albany bread delivery truck and later corrective services officials stopped and forced the boot open to free Kriel. There was no sign of the hijackers.


Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Singer shocked by 2 attacks

20/08/2007 09:20 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - A man was shot dead and another one critically wounded in two separate armed robberies in Lynnwood, Pretoria.

The men, who didn't know each other, were both friends of singer Jannie du Toit.

Dr Cilliers Snyman, 65, died in the bedroom of his son Stefan, 30, after being shot in the heart on Friday night.

Forty minutes earlier, Frans Jacobs, 61, was also shot in the chest at a house about a kilometre away. The bullet entered the right side of his chest, went through his lung and liver and left his body through his back.

'I thought he would die'

He is in stable condition in the intensive care unit of Wilgers Hospital in the east of Pretoria.

Kate Snyman, 62, was reading in her bedroom and her husband was in the television room when she heard a loud bang.

"I went downstairs to see what was wrong. When I reached my son's room, I saw Cilliers lying on the floor and called him, but he didn't react.

"A thin, short, youngish man with a revolver came running towards me. I ran to the room and locked myself in with my husband."

After ten minutes she unlocked the door and called the neighbours for help. The police and an ambulance were called.

Snyman suspected that her husband had heard something and was shot while he was investigating.

"The front door was open and the key to the security gate was still in the lock."

Jacobs and his wife, Yvonne, 61, and their granddaughters Chantelle, 17, and Andrea, 12, and a friend of Chantelle, Johann van Niekerk, 20, were overpowered by robbers in their duplex flat shortly after 19:00.

They were watching television when two robbers walked in through an open door.

"Frans jumped up and one of the robbers shot him," said Yvonne Jacobs.

The robbers demanded money, cellphones and jewellery.

"My husband was lying there groaning in pain. I asked if I may take care of him, but they just said: 'Leave him alone.' I thought he was going to die."

'I hate them'

Andrea was listening to music in her room when she heard the shot. A robber saw her and grabbed her when she walked down the stairs.

"He put the gun to her side and threw her onto her grandfather. I hate them. I wanted them to go away, I was afraid they would rape us," said Chantelle.

After the robbers had fled, Chantelle and Johann ran outside to find help.

"I'm very angry and the children are badly traumatised. Chantelle starts writing preliminary exams on Wednedsay," said Yvonne Jacobs.

She said Du Toit called her after the attack and informed her that another of his friends (Snyman) had also been attacked.

Du Toit said on Sunday, "It's a shame that two people who didn't know each other, but who were both friends of mine, became victims in one evening".

"I'm still in shock."

Police spokesperson inspector Paul Ramaloko said the police were investigating the possibility that the same robbers were responsible for the attacks.


Monday, 20 August 2007

'I feared they'd molest my wife'

20/08/2007 08:35 - (SA)

Alet van Zyl, Beeld

Pretoria - A man who apparently had to wait next to a highway for Volkswagen's tow-in service for more than an hour after his car's engine failed, is in hospital after two armed robbers shot him in both thighs.

Louis de Nysschen, 42, from Muldersdrift on the West Rand, said the engine of his VW Caddy, which had done 17 000km, cut out near the R57 exit from the N1-highway to Bloemfontein at about 19:00 on Friday.

He and his wife, Sorelda, apparently immediately called Volkswagen's emergency back-up service and asked for help.

After they had been waiting for a long time, two men appeared next to their windows.

"One man hit the windscreen with a gun and demanded that I unlock the doors," said De Nuysschen.

"He shot me the moment I had unlocked the door."

Nick Dollman, a spokesperson for Netcare 911, said the bullet went through De Nysschen's one thigh and got lodged in his other thigh.

"When they started touching my wife, I feared that they would indecently assault her. I threw myself onto her and somehow managed to close the other door."

"The men again shouted that I must open the door, but I managed to start the car.

"We travelled about 2km before the engine cut out again," said De Nysschen.

Bill Stephens, Volkswagen's spokesperson, was unable to say why the emergency service failed to get to De Nysschen sooner.

He said Volkswagen would investigate and comment on Monday.

To make matters worse, robbers had also broken into the De Nysschen's home in Muldersdrift while they were gone.


Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Teen foils hijacking with hockey stick

August 14 2007 at 05:06AM

By Jeff Wicks

A gang of hijackers trying to steal a 4x4 on Monday were foiled by the efforts of a 13-year-old girl, who used her hockey stick to strike one of the men, and a witness to the drama, who drove his car at them.

Debra Freimond, 47, had been waiting for her daughter, Hayley, outside Chelsea Preparatory School in Durban North where three men tried to hijack her.

Freimond, of Umhlanga Rocks, was held up when she got out of the 4x4 to let the children in.

"As I opened the canopy, someone asked for my keys. At that stage, I thought it was one of the kids," she said.

She found herself confronted by three armed men. "One of them held a gun to my head while another pushed me to the ground. I didn't know what to do, so I just threw my keys to them," she said.

Hayley, a grade seven pupil, saw the attempted hijacking unfold as she approached. "I saw them put the gun to my mother's head," she said.

Hayley struck one of the hijackers on the neck with her hockey stick. Seeing the commotion, a man who had been parked nearby tried to run down the men in his car.

Hayley said that after she hit the hijacker, he pointed the gun at her. "If it wasn't for the man in the car, he would've shot one of us."

As the man, who had just fetched his granddaughter from the school, sped towards the gunmen, one of them fired a shot at the car. The bullet broke through the windscreen and lodged in the dashboard. The hijackers fled.

Chelsea Principal Clive Nel said: "It's horrifying how brazen they were, but it's a reality of the country we live in."

Nel said Hayley was a heroine.

"We are very proud of her, but I don't think she realised how much danger she put herself in."

This article was originally published on page 1 of The Mercury on August 14, 2007


Mom, baby in 'miracle' survival

14/08/2007 08:40 - (SA)

Riette Olivier, Die Burger

Port Elizabeth - A bullet meant for a pregnant woman's stomach hit her in the breast and saved her baby's life.

After more than three days in labour Selma Brown, 27, from Forest Hill, will carry her baby to term.

Brown and her partner, Richard Swanepoel, dropped off their one-year-old son Joshua at about 07:27 at the house of Swanepoel's mother on August 4.

Brown remained sitting in the car and noticed a man walking by. "He saw me sitting inside the car and started walking up to me.

"He first walked past the car, then suddenly turned around and hit the window with a revolver. I quickly gave him my handbag. He took it, but then aimed the gun at my stomach and fired a shot."

'I've been shot'

The bullet hit her in the breast and the man ran away. Brown got out of the car and ran towards the house. At that moment Swanepoel came out of the house.

"The blood was spouting from my breast like a fountain. I screamed at Richard that I had been shot."

They got back into the car and rushed to Life St Georges Hospital, where she jumped out and ran into the hospital.

"I shouted: 'I'm 31 weeks pregnant, I have been shot and I don't want to lose my baby. Help!'

"I kept thinking I didn't want to die yet, I couldn't leave Joshua behind."

By 07:40 she was already on a drip. The trauma caused her to go into labour. She was in labour for three days with contractions only three minutes apart.

"I immediately started taking tablets to stop the labour process. The nurses also gave me two steroid injections for my baby's lungs in case she was born prematurely."

The labour process eventually stopped on Monday when she underwent surgery to remove the bullet.

A week later her baby was still healthy and she will be born in a month's time by means of Caesarean section.

"I decided to call her Carma. The word means love and through everything that has happened to me, she has remained healthy. It is also a miracle that I will be carrying her to term. Even with the bullet that went through my breast I will be able to breastfeed her," she said.

"I'm sure there's a reason for her being alive."


Monday, 6 August 2007

Hijacking victim believed brain dead

August 06 2007 at 09:33AM

By Sinegugu Ndlovu

A Musgrave resident who was shot in the face in an attempted hijacking in Glenwood on Saturday morning is now brain dead.

This is according to Beverly Stevenson, the fiancée of Leon Hassell.

Hassell and his brother, Armand, were parked at the corner of Moore and Chelmsford roads while waiting for a tow truck to fetch Hassell's bakkie when they were confronted by four men.

ER24 spokesperson Derrick Banks said the brothers had told the hijackers that the bakkie could not start and that they were trying to get the vehicle towed to their home.

However, a gun was produced by one of the men and Hassell was shot in the face. His brother ran away.

"Paramedics were in the area and responded quickly when they heard the gunshots. The sound of the sirens scared off the men, who fled in a Fiat Uno, taking the bakkie keys with them," said Banks.

He said that Hassell had been admitted to Entabeni Hospital in a coma.

After the incident the police urged motorists whose vehicles broke down to notify them immediately.

Police Superintendent Vincent Mdunge said that criminals were always seeking opportunities to hijack stranded motorists. "Phone the police, tell them that you have a breakdown in a certain area so they can help."

He said cases of attempted highjacking and attempted murder were being investigated after the attack on Hassell.

This article was originally published on page 4 of The Mercury on August 06, 2007


Traumatised survivor has heart attack

August 06 2007 at 10:45AM

By Miranda Andrew and Sharlene Packree

Lynn Fredericks was tired of a life of solitude and was planning on moving into a retirement home that would offer her both safety and security.

But on Saturday, Fredericks, 69, and her family's worst fears were realised when the widow was brutally murdered in her home on Marian Road, Hillcrest.

The widow was with an unnamed 85-year-old friend who was spending the night at the house, when they were confronted by an armed man who demanded cash and cellphones from the pensioners.

Fredericks tried to defend herself, but was shot once in the head and died at the scene.

Her friend was so traumatised by the incident that she suffered a heart attack and had to be rushed to hospital.

The attacker fled with nothing.

Police spokesperson Superintendent Daniela Veldhuizen said Fredericks spotted a young man jumping over her fence at about 4.45pm.

"Fredericks apparently spoke to him through a window and asked him what he wanted. The man said he wanted to speak to her domestic worker," Veldhuizen said on Sunday.

"She told him she did not have a domestic worker and the man left."

Minutes later, she opened the garage door to let her two dogs out.


Half an hour later she opened the garage door again to allow the dogs back into the house when she was confronted by the armed assailant.

"There was a scuffle and when she attempted to press the panic button, the man shot Fredericks in the head," said Veldhuizen.

"He then went into the kitchen, which was next to the garage, and searched Fredericks's friend."

The robber demanded a cellphone and the woman said she did not own one.

"The woman then went into cardiac arrest and the attacker ran off, taking nothing with him," explained Veldhuizen.

The woman was taken to a nearby hospital.

Fredericks's brother, Raymond de Swardt, told the Daily News that her husband had died eight months ago and that she had been planning to sell her home and move into a retirement village.

"She was going to sell the house as it is huge and she feared for her safety.

It's tragic what has happened as she was the most loving person you could find. The family is in shock," he said.

Swardt described his sister as "fiercely independent".

"She was a great person who loved giving to others. It's sad knowing she was killed for a cellphone," he said.

Fredericks's nephew, Phillip de Swardt said: "My aunt didn't have any children and absolutely loved her dogs. It's hard to believe what happened.

How do you get over something like this?"

Police are investigating a case of murder.

This article was originally published on page 2 of Daily News on August 06, 2007


Sunday, 5 August 2007

Why I'm fleeing South Africa

by Anne Paton (widow of Alan Paton)

London Sunday Times—DISPATCHES, Sunday, November 29, 1998

I am leaving South Africa. I have lived here for 35 years, and I shall leave with anguish. My home and my friends are here, but I am terrified. I know I shall be in trouble for saying so, because I am the widow of Alan Paton.

Fifty years ago he wrote Cry, The Beloved Country. He was an unknown schoolmaster and it was his first book, but it became a bestseller overnight. It was eventually translated into more than 20 languages and became a set book in schools all over the world. It has sold more than 15 million copies and still sells 100,000 copies a year.

As a result of the startling success of this book, my husband became famous for his impassioned speeches and writings, which brought to the notice of the world the suffering of the black man under apartheid.

He campaigned for Nelson Mandela's release from prison and he worked all his life for black majority rule. He was incredibly hopeful about the new South Africa that would follow the end of apartheid, but he died in 1988, aged 85.

I was so sorry he did not witness the euphoria and love at the time of the election in 1994.But I am glad he is not alive now. He would have been so distressed to see what has happened to his beloved country.

I love this country with a passion, but I cannot live here any more. I can no longer live slung about with panic buttons and gear locks. I am tired of driving with my car windows closed and the doors locked, tired of being afraid of stopping at red lights. I am tired of being constantly on the alert, having that sudden frisson of fear at the sight of a shadow by the gate, of a group of youths approaching - although nine times out of 10 they are innocent of harmful intent. Such is the suspicion that dogs us all.

Among my friends and the friends of my friends, I know of nine people who have been murdered in the past four years.

An old friend, an elderly lady, was raped and murdered by someone who broke into her home for no reason at all; another was shot at a garage.

We have a saying, "Don't fire the gardener", because of the belief that it is so often an inside job - the gardener who comes back and does you in.

All this may sound like paranoia, but it is not without reason. I have been hijacked, mugged and terrorised. A few years ago my car was taken from me at gunpoint. I was forced into the passenger seat. I sat there frozen. But just as one man jumped into the back and the other fumbled with the starter I opened the door and ran away. To this day I do not know how I did this. But I got away, still clutching my handbag.

On May I this year I was mugged in my home at three in the afternoon. I used to live in a community of big houses with big grounds in the countryside. It's still beautiful and green, but the big houses have been knocked down and people have moved into fenced complexes like the one in which I now live. Mine is in the suburbs of Durban, but they're springing up everywhere.

That afternoon I came home and omitted to close the security door. I went upstairs to lie down. After a while I thought I'd heard a noise, perhaps a bird or something. Without a qualm I got up and went to the landing; outside was a man. I screamed and two other men appeared. I was seized by the throat and almost throttled; I could feel myself losing consciousness.

My mouth was bound with Sellotape and I was threatened with my own knife (Girl Guide issue from long ago) and told: "If you make a sound, you die." My hands were tied tightly behind my back and I was thrown into the guest room and the door was shut. They took all the electronic equipment they could find, except the computer. They also, of course, took the car.

A few weeks later my new car was locked up in my fenced carport when I was woken by its alarm in the early hours of the morning. The thieves had removed the radio, having cut through the padlocks in order to bypass the electric control on the gates.

The last straw came a few weeks ago, shortly before my 71st birthday. I returned home in the middle of the afternoon and walked into my sitting room. Outside the window two men were breaking in. I retreated to the hall and pressed the panic alarm.

This time I had shut the front door on entering. By now I had become more cautious. Yet one of the men ran around the house, jumped over the fence and tried to batter down the front door. Meanwhile, his accomplice was breaking my sitting- room window with a hammer.

This took place while the sirens were shrieking, which was the frightening part. They kept coming, in broad daylight, while the alarm was going. They knew that there had to be a time lag of a few minutes before help arrived - enough time to dash off with the television and video recorder. In fact, the front-door assailant was caught and taken off to the cells. Recently I telephoned to ask the magistrate when I would be called as a witness. She told me she had let him off for lack of evidence. She said that banging on my door was not an offence, and how could I prove that his intent was hostile?

I have been careless in the past - razor wire and electric gates give one a feeling of security. Or at least, they did. But I am careless no longer. No fence - be it electric or not - no wall, no razor wire is really a deterrent to the determined intruder. Now my alarm is on all the time and my panic button hung round my neck. While some people say I have been unlucky, others say: "You are lucky not to have been raped or murdered." What kind of a society is this where one is considered "lucky" not to have been raped or murdered - yet?

A character in Cry, The Beloved Country says: "I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving they will find we are turned to hating." And so it has come to pass. There is now more racial tension in this country than I have ever known.

But it is not just about black-on-white crime. It is about general lawlessness. Black people suffer more than the whites. They do not have access to private security firms, and there are no police stations near them in the townships and rural areas. They are the victims of most of the hijackings, rapes and murders. They cannot run away like the whites, who are streaming out of this country in their thousands.

President Mandela has referred to us who leave as "cowards" and says the country can do without us. So be it. But it takes a great deal of courage to uproot and start again. We are leaving because crime is rampaging through the land. The evils that beset this country now are blamed on the legacy of apartheid. One of the worst legacies of that time is that of the Bantu Education Act, which deliberately gave black people an inferior education.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that criminals know that their chances of being caught are negligible; and if they are caught they will be free almost at once. So what is the answer? The government needs to get its priorities right. We need a powerful, well-trained and well-equipped police force.

Recently there was a robbery at a shopping centre in the afternoon. A call to the police station elicited the reply: "We have no transport." "Just walk then," said the caller; the police station is about a two-minute sprint from the shop in question. "We have no transport," came the reply again. Nobody arrived.

There is a quote from my husband's book: "Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be too moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or a valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much."

What has changed in half a century? A lot of people who were convinced that everything would be all right are disillusioned, though they don't want to admit it.

The government has many excellent schemes for improving the lot of the black man, who has been disadvantaged for so long. A great deal of money is spent in this direction. However, nothing can succeed while people live in such fear. Last week, about 10km from my home, an old couple were taken out and murdered in the garden. The wife had only one leg and was in a wheelchair. Yet they were stabbed and strangled - for very little money. They were the second old couple to be killed last week. It goes on and on, all the time; we have become a killing society.

As I prepare to return to England, a young man asked me the other day, in all innocence, if things were more peaceful there. "You see," he said, "I know of no other way of life than this. I cannot imagine anything different." What a tragic statement on the beloved country today. "Because the white man has power, we too want power," says Msimangu.

"But when a black man gets power, when he gets money, he is a great man if he is not corrupted. I have seen it often. He seeks power and money to put right what is wrong, and when he gets them, why, he enjoys the power and the money.

Now he can gratify his lusts, now he can arrange ways to get white man's liquor. I see only one hope for our country, and that is when white men and black men, desiring neither power nor money, but desiring only the good of their country, come together to work for it.

I have one great fear in my heart, that one day when they are turned to loving, they will find we are turned to hating."

Saturday, 4 August 2007

Woman, 85, breaks down door

Judith Steenkamp, 85, recovers after being attacked in her home. (Alet Pretorius, Beeld)

03/08/2007 08:27 - (SA)

Virginia Keppler, Beeld

Pretoria - A frail, elderly Kameeldrift woman on Thursday broke down a door with a sewing machine, to get help for her wounded son.

Judith Steenkamp, 85, then walked more than 100m in the pitch-black darkness without her walking stick to the home of her other son Daan.

Speaking in a shaky voice on Thursday Judith said she doesn't know how she did it, but realised that if she didn't get help, her son Albertus, 44, would bleed to death.

She and Albertus were overpowered by four robbers at about 01:30 on Thursday morning in their bedrooms on the first floor of their home.

The robbers broke a window in the lounge to gain access to the house.

They apparently went to Albertus's room first and shot at him twice.

He's being treated in the ICU of Eugene Marais Hospital. One of the bullets penetrated his lungs.

"Four of them dragged me out of my bed with pistols, and hit me in the face," said Judith.

"Then they took me to Albertus's room. My child was lying next to his bed bleeding."

One of the robbers took the cord from her hairdryer and tried to tie up her hands.

"I pleaded that they shouldn't do that. When one of the others drew his attention, I hid the cord under the pillow."

They then threatened to kill her, to get her to open the safe.

"They took my Browning pistol, R500, all my jewellery, my shoes and my wedding ring.

"The strange thing is they threw my little crucifix pendant on the ground. I was 25 years old when my husband put the ring on my finger. It has two little diamonds," she said.

The robbers threw Steenkamp's ID, her driver's licence and her credit cards out of her handbag.

They fled with her handbag and clothes belonging to her and Albertus, after locking them in his bedroom.

Albertus told his mother to try and break the door with the sewing machine.

"I don't know how long I banged against the door with the sewing machine, but I managed to do it."

She got through the hole, stumbled down the stairs to the front door and then walked to her other son's house.

He immediately contacted the radio control room and ran to his mother's house.


Taking a life 'touches you'

03/08/2007 09:32 - (SA)

Sanri van Wyk , Beeld

Krugersdorp - A 38-year-old man on Thursday described how he was forced to shoot two suspects during a robbery at his home.

"It doesn't matter what the circumstances are. If you take somebody's life, it touches you," said a tearful André Venter, 38, from Rangeview extention 4.

The drama started shortly after three men apparently climbed onto a wall and over an electric fence surrounding the house.

Venter, his wife Sanet, 32, her mother, Sus Jonker, 63, father Willem, 67, and her uncle, Pieter Ehlers, 50, and the Venters' 17-month-old baby son live in a house separated by a door between the two units.

Mrs Venter said her mother, Sus, was woken up at 04:15 by a clicking sound, such as that of a window being opened.

"She saw an armed man climbing through the window. She managed to roll out of bed without being noticed and crawled out of the room," said Mrs Venter.

She heard her mother's scream and found her in the passage. She was hysterical.

"All she could utter was: 'Shoot! Shoot!' and 'There are people in the room!'. Her face turned blue and she fainted."

When a shot was fired in her parents' room, her husband André turned around and fetched his pistol.

She waited with her mother for a while and then went to check whether her father had been shot. "I ran into one of them and he hit me in the face with a firearm.

"Another one behind me pointed a gun (at me). My husband shot him."

Mr Venter said one of the robbers moments later pointed a gun at him.

"I shot him too," he said.

The robber staggered out of the house and died on the lawn.

The Venters called the police and their lawyer. "The police was helpful and efficient," said Mr Venter.

The family was considering appointing a guard to watch the house until "everybody has settled down".

"The electric fence gave us a sense of security."

Mr Venter said everything happened so fast that he didn't think, but "just did what he could".

Police spokesperson captain Joseph Magoai said charges of robbery and attempted burglary were being investigated.

As Venter acted in self-defence, he would not be charged or arrested at this stage.

"The docket will be referred to the director of public prosecutions to determine whether he will be prosecuted."


Reward offered in Kimberly farm attack

August 03 2007 at 12:09PM

A reward of R20 000 has been offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of three robbers who shot a Kimberley farmer and left him for dead in March this year, police said.

The farmer was returning to his farm when the three men attacked him, said Captain Cherelle Ehlers on Friday.

The robbers used cement blocks and metal poles to block a cattle crossing on the Wintersrush gravel road.

"They fired four shots at Willem van Zyl, 33, and also assaulted him. The robbers took his cellphone and firearm. He was shot in his upper and lower body and in his right wrist," said Ehlers.

Anyone with information on the incident should contact Crime Stop on 08600-10111. - Sapa


Intruders shot dead on farm

August 03 2007 at 07:17PM

Two intruders were shot dead on a farm near Greylingstad on Friday, Mpumalanga police said.

Superintendent Abie Khoabane said the farmer, Gerhardus van der Merwe, returned home between 8 and 9am. He noticed that part of the garage roof had been bent open.

On going to investigate, Van der Merwe found two men in the garage, one of them armed with an iron rod. The men attacked Van der Merwe, who drew his pistol. In the scuffle, both intruders were shot dead.

The suspects were aged about 18 or 20, Khoabane said.

Police were investigating a case of murder, and were trying to establish the identity of the dead men.

Nothing was stolen, and no one else was at home at the time of the incident. - Sapa


Thursday, 2 August 2007

'Then he climbed on top of me'

02/08/2007 07:41 - (SA)

Nivashni Nair

Scottburgh - A 22-year-old BComm student on Wednesday battled to breathe as she relived the events of December 29 2006 when she was robbed of her virginity by one of the three men accused of ambushing five friends at a braai in Pennington.

"The only thing that makes me go on every day is my belief in God and I believe that I still have a purpose in this world," the dark-haired girl told the Scottburgh High Court.

She was the second rape victim to testify in the trial of Mbambo, Sithembiso Joseph Shelembe, 23, and Wonder Wiseman Mchunu, 26.

The girl, who cannot be named, told the court that on December 29, she was with her sister, brother and two friends when they were attacked by Mbambo, Shelembe and Mchunu.

'Where is the fat one?'

She said that after the men robbed them of their cellphones and bags, they were forced into the bedroom, where she tried to look away when her sister and friend were allegedly raped.

She said that Shelembe asked her to expose herself and then asked her how many boyfriends she had had and what she had done with them.

After the two-hour rape ordeal began, the girl looked away but heard the sounds of her sister and friend being raped.

"Then the leader (Shelembe) asked where's the fat one. He then pulled down his pants and climbed on top of me and started to have sex with me. I didn't feel like I was a part of my body.

When something like this happens, you just switch off," she said.

The girl told the court that it was her first sexual encounter and that while Shelembe raped her, he kept telling her that she lied about being a virgin.

"I am not the same person that I was before this. I don't think I can even live alone with a man. It has changed the way I feel about relationships.

Lost her trust in people

"I have lost trust in people because someone says they are not going to hurt you but they do.

"You are not safe even in your own home. I don't go out at night because you can't even have a braai without being attacked," she said.

She told the court that her family, especially her mother, have been terribly affected by the incident as all three of her children were victims.

The girl found it difficult to catch her breath as she told the court that she is living in fear of having contracted HIV/Aids.

Her first test was negative but she fears the next test could be positive. Mbambo faces an additional charge of attempted murder because he tested positive for HIV in 2000.

Earlier, police DNA expert Karin Botha testified that the two cigarette butts found in the bedroom where the attack took place, contained Shelembe's saliva.

A cloth found at the scene also contained his DNA. It is presumed it was semen.

She explained that vaginal swabs taken from the victims also contained the DNA of Shelembe and Mchunu.

The three accused maintain their innocence and insist that they were at their homes in Port Shepstone at the time of the incident.


Wednesday, 1 August 2007

Gun was held to victim's head

July 31 2007 at 06:43PM

Each time a Durban woman objected to being kissed while she was being raped, her attacker pressed a Smith and Wesson revolver to her head, the Scottburgh High Court heard on Tuesday.

His HIV-positive accomplice then asked her: "Was it fun? Are we having a good time?"

That was after the second time she had been raped by the same man in less than two hours.

The young woman, who may not be identified, said the "shock" and "gasp" of a friend was the first signal that a pleasant evening braai would turn out to be a night where she and her friends were raped while two others had to watch.

'Then it looked like they were getting cross. They kept on asking for a laptop'

"I saw a shocked expression on her face," said the quietly spoken woman. "I looked around and saw three people with weapons in our faces."

The three men - Mthokozisi Mbambo, 29, Sithembiso Shelembe, 23, and Wonder Mchunu, 26 - allegedly raped the three Durban women at a beach-house in Pennington, south of Scottburgh, on December 29 last year. They are accused of attacking and robbing another couple later that night.

The young woman said their faces had not been covered during her ordeal and she had identified them at a identity parade in Durban on January 12.

Asked if she had seen the men again, she said: "They are here in the court room".

Judge Leona Theron ordered that the public vacate the court, except for the media on condition that they did not name the victims.

Earlier, prosecutor Dorian Paver told the court DNA from two of the accused was found inside the three victims, and saliva from one of the accused was found on two cigarette butts found at the crime scene.

The young woman, who has emigrated since her ordeal, said the men had initially promised not to harm anyone.

The woman and her two female friends were then ordered out of the swimming pool and onto the terrace with their two male friends who had been preparing the braai.

They were then ordered into the main bedroom of the Pennington simplex.

The attackers ordered the two men to sit on the floor, while the three women were ordered to sit on the bed.

The woman said Shelembe kept on talking to those in the room while his two accomplices rummaged through the house.

"He told us to light his smoke," she said. "He (Shelembe) had a cigarette in his mouth and he wanted us to light it for him."

She described how the three men became agitated as they kept on demanding where there was a laptop.

"Then it looked like they were getting cross. They kept on asking for a laptop. They were getting aggravated."

It was then that Shelembe asked the woman if he could see her private parts. At first she said she did not hear him. The demand was repeated.

"I looked at him shocked. I said no."

She asked Shelembe why he wanted "to do that. They had told us they weren't going to hurt us.

"He said he won't hurt me."

The woman said Shelembe told her "he just wants to see."

She still refused but then: "He said I'll shoot you and he pointed the gun at my head. I started getting cross and then realised that they are going to hurt us and my friends.

"I showed him. I had my bikini pants and I pulled it aside."

Under cross-examination she was asked how could she have been so certain that the three men in the court were the attackers.

"It took a little bit over two hours. I was staring at them the whole time."

She said that as she was being raped by Shelembe on the bed, Mbambo came right up to her and asked: "Was it fun? Are we having a good time?"

The three men had earlier pleaded not guilty to all the charges of rape, indecent assault, robbery with aggravating circumstances. Mbambo also pleaded not guilty to attempted murder. In the indictment it emerged that Mbambo was diagnosed as being HIV-positive "as far back as 2000".

The indictment said that Mbambo raped the women "in spite of his knowledge of the potential transmission of a virus leading to fatal consequences".

Mbambo's advocate Anneliese Harrison said Mbambo was nowhere near the crime scene, but in the company of his brother Xolani Mbambo on the night.

Advocate Abdul Khan said his client, Mchunu, would argue that he was at home with his sister.

Shelembe's advocate, Dean Govender, said Shelembe would "elect to remain silent".

However, Govender said: "My instructions are that he (Shelembe) was never there."

Govender said Shelembe had advised him that one of the fathers of the three women had been in the police cells and taken pictures of the three men with his cellphone.

The woman said her father had never been to the police cells at Durban's Brighton Beach police station, where she identified the accused in an identity parade. - Sapa


'I only held the hammer'

August 01 2007 at 06:54AM

A Hammanskraal man on Tuesday told the Pretoria High Court that his fingerprints were on the hammer that was used to batter an elderly couple to death because his co-accused had asked him to hold it while he ransacked the house.

Michael Maluleka, 34, and Peter Raseboka, 31, of Winterveld, pleaded not guilty to murdering Helgard and Magdalena Brink on July 10 2005 in their Akasia home.

According to the State, both were attacked in their beds while sleeping. The woman's body was found in her bed while the attack on her husband, who tried to get away after being hit, was continued in the living room.

Both died due to brain injuries.

'He told me they had been cheating him for too long'

Maluleka blamed his co-accused for the murders. He said he met Raseboka at the Pretoria Academic hospital and his co-accused invited him to go with him to his employer's home.

It was late at night and Maluleka said he was surprised when they had to climb over the gate.

His friend, however, told him his employer had the keys.

Once inside the yard he had to wait for Raseboka, who later returned and told him they could now enter the house. He said he was even more surprised when they had to climb through a window, but his friend explained that his employer was asleep and he did not want to wake him.

Once inside the house, he said he saw a man asleep on a couch with a little dog beside him. The dog saw them and started moving and the man opened his eyes. Maluleka said Raseboka then produced a hammer and hit the man twice on the head.

According to him the man fell back on the couch. He said that at the same time a woman came running out of the bedroom and Raseboka also hit her with the hammer. He said the woman ran into the bathroom.

Maluleka said his friend removed his gloves after giving him the hammer to hold. "He told me to hold it while he looked for money. He told me they had been cheating him for too long," Maluleka said.

When they left the house his co-accused left the hammer in the room. Maluleka said if he knew two people were going to be killed, he would never have accompanied his friend. - Zelda Venter

This article was originally published on page 2 of Pretoria News on August 01, 2007


'They laughed as I was raped'

August 01 2007 at 04:19AM

By Bronwyn Gerretsen

While one man was raping two young women, his two cohorts were raiding the victims' fridge of drinks and were braaiing boerewors and steak.

That was while also rummaging through the house for items to steal and popping their heads into the room to laugh at the woman being raped and to ask if she was "having a good time".

That emerged in the Scottburgh High Court on Tuesday when the first of three women who were raped at Pennington, on the South Coast, on December 29 2006 testified against her attackers.

Mbambo is also facing a charge of attempted murder

Sithemiso Shelembe, 23, Mthokozisi Mbambo, 29, and Wonder Mchunu, 26, all of Port Shepstone, are facing charges of robbery, rape and indecent assault.

Mbambo is also facing a charge of attempted murder because he was HIV-positive at the time and had been diagnosed with the virus in 2000.

Holding back her emotions, the 20-year-old Durban woman told the court of the ordeal of the night that began with her and four friends having a braai, swimming and relaxing.

Under examination by state advocate Dorian Paver, she confidently looked the three men in the eye when she pointed them out as those responsible for the attack.

Dressed casually in jeans, a blue shirt and slops, and with her blonde hair in a ponytail, she said that she and her friends, two women and two men, had been ordered at gunpoint to hand over their valuables and move to a bedroom.

'I was cool and calm the whole evening'

There, Shelembe had first chatted to them, asking them questions and instructing them to light a cigarette in his mouth, while Mbambo and Mchunu rummaged through the house.

The young woman told Judge Leona Theron that she was raped twice by Shelembe despite protesting and pleading with him not to do so.

She testified that one of her friends had cried and asked for her asthma pump as Mbambo lay on her.

"(Mchunu) came in with drinks... We had had meat in the kitchen ready for our braai... The accused then came in with cooked meat, a steak and a boerewors... they cut the boerewors into pieces and gave it to us in our hands," she said.

She said they had been forced to eat the boerewors while the steak had been left on the bedroom floor.

A while later, the three men had tied the five friends up with silver tape and torn bed sheets before leaving with items including watches, cellphones, money, clothing and cameras.

During cross-examination by advocate Dean Govender, who represented Shelembe, the woman denied that she could have mistakenly identified Shelembe as one of the rapists. He claimed to have been asleep at his home at the time of the incident.

"I was cool and calm the whole evening. I was talking to them and asked (Shelembe) if he had a girlfriend and kids," the victim said.

The woman said that since the incident she had begun working on a yacht as she wanted to "get out of the country" and away from people who knew her and what had happened to her. She said she felt safer on the yacht.

The three are also alleged to have robbed a Gauteng couple who were staying in a nearby holiday cottage where Shelembe allegedly indecently assaulted the woman.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

This article was originally published on page 3 of The Mercury on August 01, 2007