Ventersdorp farm attack stirs up emotions

Johannesburg - A farmer from Syferbult outside Ventersdorp in the North-West was shot in the leg on Sunday morning and repeatedly stabbed with a knife during a farm attack.

It happened just 16 days after Eugene Terre'Blanche, leader of the AWB, was murdered on his farm in the district.

Karel Griessel, 49, who has been farming outside Ventersdorp on the Potchefstroom road for the past 20 years, was shot at his kitchen door at about 05:00.

He opened the door to throw a bone to one of his dogs when three men overpowered him and one shot him in the leg.

His two daughters, aged 12 and 17 respectively, hid in the house. The older of the two phoned her mom, who stays on a farm in the area, on her cellphone. 

Carina Griessel, 46, who recently divorced Karel, says the assault on her ex is "like any attack or murder...It doesn't go down well".

She told Beeld that her eldest daughter had phoned her shortly before 05:00, and said: "Mom, you have to come quickly... There are strangers on the farm."

The mother of three (she also has a 19-year-old son) took her revolver and, along with her foreman and a former police officer, sped to Griessel's farm while calling other farmers in the area.

All armed

The attackers were presumably hiding in the garden when they arrived. One of the men who went with her saw two of the attackers run past the kitchen window. He fired two shots at the attackers, who ran away.

When another farmer from the area showed up, the third attacker fled, Lesego Metsi, police spokesperson, told Sapa.

Carina found her ex-husband on the kitchen floor. The impact of the first shot presumably broke his leg, she says. He also sustained head injuries after being repeatedly beaten over the head.

She says the attackers, who all had handguns and one a knife as well, charged and overpowered Griessel when he opened the door.

"They wanted money and weapons. He didn't have either on him. When they tried to tie him up, he fought back.”

In the ensuing struggle, Griessel was assaulted and, according to paramedics, stabbed several times with a knife.

"We put towels under his head and stayed with him for support until the paramedics arrived. He had severe pain in his leg."

Evacuated by helicopter

Werner Vermaak, spokesperson for ER24, says the patient was treated for a broken leg and several stab wounds in his leg.

He was taken by helicopter to the Netcare Milpark hospital in Johannesburg, where he's in a serious but stable condition.

Erin Smylie, hospital spokesperson, was unable to comment on Griessel's condition on Sunday night. "I haven't received any official reports from the doctors. The hospital will decide tomorrow (on Monday) whether they will release a statement."

Visitors from the area were clearly upset and emotional about the attack.

"They want our land! They want to chase us out of the country. (Julius) Malema (leader of the ANC Youth League) is being used to stir up the youth. We (the farmers) are not going to sit still..." one farmer, who wanted to remain anonymous, told Beeld.

There have been no arrests in connection with the incident.

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