Bizarre arms cache drama

2008-12-22 00:00

Dozens of police spent hours yesterday questioning a family in their house on a plot near Swartruggens, North West after a man and his son were arrested on Sunday for the illegal possession of an arms cache.

Beeld was reliably informed that police also spent hours digging in search of bodies, but that none was found.

Gauteng police spokesman Superintendent Eugene Opperman confirmed that police reacted to a tip that the remains of victims of the paedophile Gert van Rooyen could be found on the plot, about 20 km from Swartruggens.

A provincial task team was sent to the scene to investigate.

There they found explosives, a number of weapons and ammunition, Opperman said.

Beeld was told that more that R150 000 in cash was found in the family’s possession.

It is alleged that the police were contacted by the family’s oldest daughter, who claimed that her father had been Van Rooyen’s accomplice and that victims were buried on the plot.

Danie Haasbroek, a family friend, said the same daughter contacted police about 10 years ago claiming bodies were buried on her father’s plot, and police investigated but found nothing.

“We don’t really know what is going on, but it seems [the daughter] is a bit unhinged, because she suddenly phoned the police with the Van Rooyen story,” Haasbroek said.

He said the father works for a granite quarry and stores explosives in a safe at home.

“I gather he just had too many bullets for his firearms.”

He said he wonders why the police don’t keep records of tip-offs, because the woman made the same allegations about 10 years ago.

The police declined to comment on this.

National police spokeswoman Director Sally de Beer described as “absolute nonsense” allegations that the cache was linked to the Boeremag Afrikaner resistance movement.

Van Rooyen abducted and murdered at least six young girls between 1988 and 1989. The girls’ remains have never been found, as Van Rooyen and his girlfriend Joey Haarhof committed suicide when faced with arrest after the escape of their last kidnap victim in January 1990.

One of the girls, Fiona Harvey, was abducted in Pietermaritzburg on December 22, 1988.

Yesterday, as a forensic team searched the Swartruggens property, a police helicopter flew overhead, presumably to take aerial photographs.

The arrested man and his son, aged 54 and 26, are expected to appear in court soon.

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