'Hero' workers foil farm attack
Gloria Edwards, Beeld
Johannesburg – Two men working for an elderly dairy farmer from Schweizer-Reneke in North West prevented a farm attack when they waited for the criminals in the farmhouse and shot one of the attackers in the leg.
A 36-year-old police officer from Amalia police station, who was allegedly driving the getaway car, and another suspect, aged 20, will appear in the Schweizer-Reneke Magistrate's Court on Monday on charges of illegal trespassing on a property with the intention of committing a crime.
According to Agri SA, the incident is the first farm attack since the beginning of the 2010 Soccer World Cup, and comes only two months after a female police officer from Roodepoort and a former policeman from Randfontein were arrested for a farm attack in Schweizer-Reneke.
Hendrik (Tokolosh) Eksteen, 44, is the foreman on 80-year-old Toby van den Heever's farm which is situated between Schweizer-Reneke and Delareyville near Migdol. He told on Sunday how he had to react quickly when four armed men broke open the kitchen security gate at about 02:00.
Eksteen and Abraham Sesing, 44, a worker who lives with Eksteen, his wife, Susan, 47, and their 10-year-old son Waldi along with Van den Heever in his farmhouse, waited for the criminals.
Shortly before the incident, Sesing took Van den Heever to the toilet and then went back to his bed, where he waited for Van den Heever to fall asleep.
"When Abraham got back into his bed, he heard the dogs barking and heard noises at the kitchen door and came to wake me up," said Eksteen.
He grabbed his pistol and they waited for the suspected robbers at the door.
"We watched them and when they broke down the door, I shot one of them in the leg," said Eksteen.
"His mates ran off. We carried the wounded man into the house and told him to lie on his stomach with his arms behind his back while I called the police.
"You can't describe that fear. All credit goes to the Lord who protected us."
The wounded suspect was admitted to hospital under police guard but could appear in court on Monday.
Van den Heever's granddaughter, Mildred Veldman, 29, said Sesing and the Eksteens had been living in the house with her grandfather for the past few months "precisely to help and protect him".
"My grandfather lost his one leg about six months ago and has to use a wheelchair," she said. "Abraham and Tokolosh are heroes. I can only imagine what would have happened if they had not stopped it."
The policeman, who was apparently off duty, was arrested in a white Toyota Avanza near the farm.
This came after police got information that a white car was apparently used in the incident.
North West police spokesperson Captain Aafje Botma said the policeman's service pistol had been confiscated.
"Internal steps will be taken against him. The three other suspects are still missing."
André Botha, chairperson of Agri SA's national security committee, said he was not aware of any other farm attack since the beginning of the World Cup.
"During the World Cup, politicians are not making inflammatory remarks about farmers. Although it can't be proved that there is a link between the Kill the Boer, Kill the Farmer comments and farm attacks, it is striking that before the World Cup there were almost two attacks per day and during the World Cup, nearly nothing."