Elderly couple attacked in their small holding in Yaverland

Attacks on farms saw another spike this past week, with a number of people being hospitalised. To add insult to their serious injuries, their assailants sometimes made off with very little.  Most recently, an elderly couple was tied up and assaulted in their home on a smallholding at Yaverland, just outside White River.

Gillian and Hennie Kruger, both believed to be in their 70s, were ambushed in their garage on Saturday. The attackers tied them up and hacked Hennie with an axe.  White River police spokesman, Sgt Cynthia Mbokodo confirmed that the assailants were loading goods from the house onto a vehicle when they were surprised by security arriving at the scene. They fled, escaping with only the car keys and safe keys.

WillShir Security, J&M Security and Hi-Tech Security responded to the scene. Gillian was also assaulted. Both were treated at Mediclinic Nelspruit. At the time of going to press, she had been discharged. Hennie remained in hospital. Spokesman, Robyn Baard said he was stable.  Hennie declined to speak to the newspaper, as did another victim, Dewald Els (38), who was shot in the back in the early hours of Saturday morning.

He checked on an alarm at a store on his farm in the Ohrigstad area. On his way back to the house, he was shot. He is also being treated in Mediclinic Nelspruit. Baard said he was stable.  Another couple escaped an attack near Lydenburg unharmed on Thursday night. Kuifie Mouton and his wife, Karin, were held at gunpoint on their farm on the Weltevreden Road. They were robbed of cash and weapons, but not injured.

Karin told the newspaper that she was asleep when her husband heard something outside shortly after 21:00. He walked to the front door and switched on the outside lights, thinking it could be cats. Four suspects, two of them armed, were already inside the house. They had removed the burglar bars in front of a window. Kuifie was tied up with pieces of curtain. “One of the attackers dragged me out of bed. He tried to force my wedding ring off my finger. I screamed. He told me to be quiet.

I took off my ring and gave it to him,” said Karin. She was taken to the same room as her husband and also tied up. They kept saying, “We know everything”. One of the men forced her to show him the safe. “He grabbed me by my hair and ordered me to lie down.”  They emptied the safe and asked where the bakkie was. “I told him that the Isuzu was parked in front. He shoved the keys in my face and said they were Toyota ones. I explained that the Toyota Land Cruiser was parked behind.”

The men fled with cash and three weapons. The Land Cruiser was later found abandoned, 46 kilometres out on the R540.
“We are very thankful that we were not harmed, but you get the fright of your life when something like that happens. You pray the whole time,” she said.

Capt Alfred Moela, SAPS spokesman, confirmed that no arrests had been made, and that police were investigating all possible leads.
A number of attacks was also reported near Mpumalanga, in Limpopo. It was reported that on Thursday Jacques Helberg was attacked by two suspects on his farm in the Maasstroom area. He was able to fire shots at the suspects who fled.

Johan Kunneke (73) from Tonteldoos was woken by a firearm to his head. He was assaulted and tied up before the men fled with four firearms, a television, his cellphone and bakkie. Philip du Randt (48) was also attacked at this home at Letaba Estates outside Letsitele on Wednesday night. He was hit over the head with a panga.

Limpopo police spokesman could not be reached at the time of going to press to confirm these cases.  The local outfit 911Riders are on their way to Limpopo this weekend. This will be the third province they tour to visit police stations and rural communities, to pray for them and raise awareness about the importance of rural safety.

So far 34 motorcycles will be leaving from White River for Limpopo on Friday morning on a four-day tour. 911Riders spokesman, TJ Maré said people should not assume their homes were safe. “People have routines and are being watched. You don’t always see the gaps in your security measures. Take a fresh look at it. Don’t assume your place is safe.”

Bombi Mavundza

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