Dying farmer found by best friend

2012-04-04 10:05
Johan Venter tells how his badly beaten best friend At van der Merwe asked for water before dying following a farm attack. (Mary-Ann Palmer, Beeld)

Johan Venter tells how his badly beaten best friend At van der Merwe asked for water before dying following a farm attack. (Mary-Ann Palmer, Beeld)

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Johannesburg - The best friend of a farmer who was seriously assaulted and robbed on his farm on Tuesday, held him one last time and gave him water before he died.

A badly traumatised Johan Venter told how he and At van der Merwe, 68, had been like brothers and that they had farmed maize and cattle together since 1994. Van der Merwe was single and had no children.

He was presumably attacked early on Tuesday morning in his farmhouse in the Bloemhof district. Robbers assaulted him, raided the house and fled in his silver RAV4 with the registration number FTY 116 NW.

The vehicle is still missing and the robbers are still on the run.

House ransacked


Venter told how he went to Van der Merwe’s farm just after 07:00 on Tuesday to drop off farmworkers.

“At was not outside as usual when I arrived,” told Venter. “I went into the house and found him on the floor. His hands and feet were tied. His one eye was swollen shut and his whole head was swollen.”

Van der Merwe could still talk to Venter. “He asked for water. I picked him up, untied his hands and gave him water. He swallowed with great difficulty,” said Venter.

Van der Merwe told Venter he didn’t know the robbers. Venter left Van der Merwe alone while he walked around looking for a cellphone signal to call for help. When he came back, Van der Merwe had lost consciousness. He died before ambulance staff arrived.

Venter said robbers had dug a hole under the electric fence. “They came in through a window in the living room of the house.”

North West police communication head Brigadier Thulane Ngubane said they were unsure if more items had been stolen because the house had been left in a chaotic state by the robbers.

Police were investigating cases of house robbery, murder and theft.

Police called on anyone with information to call 08600 10111.
 
Read more on:    mahikeng  |  farm attacks
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