Hunt on for Modimolle attackers

2012-01-12 11:20

Limpopo police are searching for the last two suspects in the gruesome assault of a Modimolle woman following the arrest of fugitive Johan Kotze yesterday.

“We have information. We know their whereabouts, investigators are tracking them down,” said Brigadier Hangwani Mulaudzi today.

“They are somewhere in the republic (South Africa), we do not want to say much,” he said.

The two were wanted for the attack, allegedly orchestrated by Kotze on his estranged wife.

Kotze (50), allegedly forced three men at gunpoint, believed to be his workers, to participate in the attack. He also stands accused of killing the woman’s son by shooting him in the chest and head.

One of the three workers, a 42-year-old man, was arrested in Makapanstad near Hammanskraal north of Pretoria on yesterday. He was expected to appear before the Modimolle Magistrate’s Court tomorrow.

Kotze, who had been evading arrest for a week, was arrested in Modimolle yesterday at a friend’s home.

He evaded police for a week by living in his car in the bush outside Modimolle in Limpopo, according to reports today.

While a national and international manhunt was underway for him, Kotze was hiding just outside the town in Limpopo where the alleged crime was committed.

Police circulated his photograph after the attack on January 4.

On Tuesday night, Modimolle resident Surinda du Preez, who was driving around to try and get her toddlers to fall asleep, saw his white Toyota Fortuner.

“I had stopped at a stop street when I saw a white Toyota Fortuner with Free State number plates. I immediately became suspicious, but was scared and drove on,” she told The Star newspaper.

However, she became convinced it was Kotze and started driving around looking for him.

She saw the vehicle in a supermarket’s parking lot and saw him inside, buying cooldrink, water and two tins of bully beef.

“I went cold. I couldn’t move or breathe. I just stared at him, and then the panic hit me.”

She raced off and alerted the police.

At the same time, her husband Anton and her brother-in-law Werner du Preez alerted community police forum members.

The two men started searching disused four-by-four roads outside Modimolle, and saw Kotze’s SUV, which had crashed into a tree.

Police helicopters were deployed to search for him. The police were convinced he was on foot.

Beeld newspaper reported that, on Wednesday morning, Kotze walked to the home of Dirk van der Merwe, a friend of his in Modimolle.

“Ek het my gat afgeskrik (I got the fright of my life),” said Van der Merwe.

“All he said to me, was: ‘We need to talk’.”

Van der Merwe said he would go and make coffee, but he called the police instead, ending a week-long manhunt.

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