Two midlands farms attacked in eight hours

2008-12-11 00:00

THE KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) has expressed anger following a spate of violent farm attacks in KZN this year, the latest of which took place in the Dargle, near Pietermaritzburg.

The latest two attacks happened in the area eight hours apart from each other on Wednesday.

Police spokeswoman Inspector Joey Jeevan said the attackers used hammers, knives, spanners and firearms to attack their five victims, who are between the ages of 55 and 65 years old.

The first attack on Wednesday occurred at Freeland Farm at about 2 pm. The second happened at Northington Farm about eight hours later.

At Freeland Farm, three gunmen found 62-year-old Linzi-Anne Smith alone at home and held her up. They assaulted her when she was unable to produce the key to the safe.

When the intruders arrived, Smith was waiting for two friends, Sandra McKenzie (60) and Marina McKenzie (62), to fetch her to visit her eldest daughter, who was in St Anne’s Hospital.

Five minutes after the robbers burst in, her friends knocked at the gate. Smith told The Witness, she had to ignore them because she did not want them to be involved in the attack.

“But the attackers demanded that I let them in. I gave them about R2 000, but they wanted more money, which they believed was in the safe,” she said.

The criminals also robbed the McKenzies of valuables and their vehicle.

They assaulted Smith and tied her up with a tablecloth.

Her husband, Robert Melmoth Smith (65), was away for the day.

Sandra McKenzie said that when they came in, the criminals demanded that they lie down.

“When this tall man ordered us to lie down at gunpoint, I thought he was a police [officer].

“Then I saw Mrs Smith lying on the bed with her hands and legs tied up. She had bruises on her head.

“They also took our wedding rings and cellphones before tying our hand and legs,” she added.

The three women spent two hours with their hands bound as they waited for Robert Smith to arrive home and release them.

Sandra McKenzie said that when Robert Smith arrived at 4 pm, the intruders demanded that he give them the key to the safe.

“Inside the safe, there was a big gun and a pistol, but they only took the pistol. They tied Mr Smith and also gagged his mouth.

“When they left, they took Marina’s Toyota Corolla, which they promised to leave close by as they didn’t really need it,” she said.

Police found the vehicle on a road to Impendle at about 8 pm.

In the second incident on the same day, at Northington Farm, criminals attacked Clive Lovell Shippey (55) and his partner, Shirley Bishop, as they arrived home at about 10 pm.

The attackers threatened their victims with hammers, knives and spanners and demanded that they hand over their valuables.

They assaulted them before helping themselves to jewellery and R2 500 in cash.

They fled in the couple’s white Isuzu bakkie, registration number ND 253129.

Shippey and Bishop were taken to St Anne’s Hospital with serious injuries, where they are both said to be in a stable condition.

Kwanalu’s head of security, Koos Marais, said his union has recorded a total of 47 attacks on commercial farms this year. Two of them resulted in two deaths.

“ … we expect government to keep its promises that crime will be fought,” said Marais.

However, Marais expressed confidence that the police will arrest the assailants.

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