Wedding on hold for dad's funeral

Pretoria - A couple's wedding plans have been put on hold after the bride-to-be's father was shot dead and her mother assaulted during a robbery on a smallholding near Brits over the weekend.

Yolandi van der Linden, 27, and her fiancé, Gerhard Coetzee, 26, feared for their lives and hid while two robbers assaulted Frans, 57, and Elizabeth van der Linden, 52, at about 03:00 on Sunday morning.

The couple planned to marry next Saturday and her parents had travelled from Lichtenburg to Brits for last-minute wedding arrangements.

The four spent the night on a smallholding belonging to Coetzee’s mother, Jackoline Botha, 61, in Rashoop, about 13km outside Brits. Botha was not home at the time of the robbery.

The emotional couple said on Monday that they now had to organise a funeral instead of a wedding.


Coetzee saw how the robbers assaulted his prospective father-in-law in the passageway with something that looked like truncheon before pushing him into a room.

Coetzee pulled shut their bedroom door and went to hide under the bed while his fiancée hid in the wardrobe.

“We heard how they yelled at my parents: ‘Where is the money? Where is the money?’ and then we heard two shots.

“After the fighting it became very quiet and I wondered if both were dead or what they were now doing to my mother,” said Yolandi.

After the robbers fled, Van der Linden stumbled into his daughter’s room to see if they were injured.

“He lay down on our bed, bleeding, struggling to breathe. We felt so helpless. I couldn’t do anything to help him,” said a tearful Coetzee on Monday while comforting his fiancée.

Police, a security company and an ambulance were on the scene within minutes after a neighbour pressed a panic button.

Van der Linden died in the ambulance.

His wife was hit on the legs with the truncheon.

The robbers fled with a wallet, cellphone and two watches.


Yolandi said it felt like she would wake up any moment to find her father still there to take her away from the nightmare.

“Why did they have to hurt my parents? Couldn’t they just have taken what they wanted and gone away?”

The couple said Van der Linden was looking forward to having a new baby in the family.

“My dad was a loving man who was happiest when his wife and children were happy.

“My dad is my hero and I will miss him terribly,” Yolandi said.
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