Fake cops torture farmer, family

2010-01-29 08:23

Pretoria – Heavily-armed men in police uniforms tied up a Mokopane (Potgietersrus) farmer and his family and repeatedly shocked them with stun guns on a farm this week.

The eight attackers also pulled plastic bags over the heads of Okkie Malherbe, 63, and his wife Emmerentia, 53, from the Olem agricultural concern on the farm Doelen. Malherbe's granddaughter, Kaycee, 5, was hysterical during the attack.

Malherbe's son, WD, 34, said the attack lasted about two hours, "but it felt like forever. There was murder in their faces."

WD said he had come for supper on Tuesday evening at his father and stepmother's. Shortly after 19:00, an Isuzu bakkie and a Toyota Corolla with a blue light on the roof, had stopped in front of the farmhouse.

Three of the eight men were wearing police uniforms. The rest were "neatly clothed, like detectives".

"We thought it was the police and then I opened the door. They pointed semi-automatic machine guns at me."

WD said the attackers told them they were police officers from Gauteng and were investigating illegal firearms.

His father asked to see identification and the men quickly waved about "a piece of paper and cards".

"We could see these weren't police IDs and said we were going to call the police. They then pulled on their Balaclavas."

They asked for money and keys to the safe. The attackers tied up WD, his father and stepmother and also tied the hands of his sister, Zia, and her daughter Kaycee.

"They told me to lie on my face on the sofa. We weren't allowed to speak and every now and then felt a firearm against the head."
WD said the attackers shocked them, but not Kaycee, several times with stun guns.

The men took his father to a nearby building from where the family ran the Limpopo Meat Packers business. He gave them the keys to the safe. They took his shoes and pulled a plastic bag over his head. They took R120 000.

They attackers forced him back to the house and took him and his wife to their bedroom.

A plastic bag was also pulled over his wife's head.

"They were choked. I felt like I was going crazy when I heard that but I couldn't do anything," said their son."

Employees of the Malherbes who stayed in a flat near the main house, suspected something was wrong and activated an alarm.

"They fled when the alarm went off. They took my bakkie, but later left it on a farm road. My father and stepmother's cellphones were also stolen. We feel vulnerable, what should you do if people with police uniforms and a blue light stop near you? How should you know who you can trust?"

Provincial police spokesperson superintendent Ronel Otto said a special task team had been appointed to look for the attackers.