Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Thugs shoot CPF man

Graeme Hosken

July 20 2009 at 08:48AM

A Pretoria community policing forum member was shot and critically injured in a botched hijacking at about 7pm on Sunday night.

Jan Botha, 51, had just returned to his Pierre van Ryneveld home when he was attacked by two gunmen as he parked his car.

It is the sixth such attack on Pretoria homeowners in the past week and gunmen left a trail of terror behind them.

In the past week, three people were killed and four critically injured in a series of house robberies and attempted hijackings.

CCTV footage from Botha's home security system shows a white Toyota Corolla driving past his home several times shortly before the gunmen launched their attack.

The gunmen, who were armed with a Colt 45, attacked Botha as he walked towards his carport and shot him in the pelvis at point-blank range.

The footage shows how the gunmen grabbed the keys of Botha's Opel Corsa, wallet and cellphone as he collapsed to the ground before one of them ran towards his wife, Ronel, as she went outside to investigate.

Ronel managed to escape by running back inside the house to raise the alarm.

Minutes later, the hijackers drove slowly out of the driveway of Botha's home and made their escape.

The gunmen were forced to abandon the car and flee on foot when the vehicle's anti-hijacking device stalled the car.

Neighbour Jaco Engelbrecht said he was in his garage when he heard a gunshot.

"As I ran outside I saw two men driving slowly out of the driveway in Jan's car. I did not know what was happening and watched as they drove off," he said.

He added that the men were not in a hurry and had watched him closely as they drove off.

"It was as though they were not afraid of anything. It was as though they had all the time in the world and were not scared of getting caught," he said.

He said that when he saw Botha he immediately told him to find his wife as he thought there was someone in the house.

Engelbrecht said he kicked down the front door and found Botha's wife. He then rushed her outside.

"When I found her she was shaking. I grabbed her and a blanket and just ran. I did not know if there were more people inside and I wanted to get her out of the house as quickly as possible," he said, describing how they had helped Botha until an ambulance arrived.

Ruan Vermaak, Lifemed Ambulance Services spokesman, said Botha was in a critical condition in Unitas Hospital.

He said he had sustained severe injuries to his pelvis from the gunshot wound.

Frans Esterhuyse, Botha's business partner and fellow CPF member, said they were shocked by what had happened.

"You do not expect this to happen, especially when it happens to someone who is so involved in looking after other people's security. Jan is very involved in the community and is always looking out for our suburb's safety," he said.

He said crime had been very low in the suburb for the past couple of months, thanks to the actions of Botha and others.

"We had some problems earlier in 2009 with serious crime, but we were able to get the community to come together and bring it under control.

"This attack is worrying and I am afraid that what is happening in other suburbs is going to start happening here with more and more violent attacks occurring," he said.

The attack last night saw dozens of community members rallying together, closing off streets and searching surrounding open fields in an attempt to track down the gunmen.

Two radio reports could be heard and when one of the alleged suspects was spotted running along the highway there was a flurry of activity as people raced to corner the man.

However, police said the suspect evaded capture.

This article was originally published on page 1 of Pretoria News on July 20, 2009


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