R6m debt behind Centurion shooting

2012-03-30 11:42

Cape Town - The man who shot himself and three other men just three days after his 65th birthday in Centurion armed himself to meet his victims with a pistol, eight magazines full of ammunition and a .22 revolver.

Despite this, Pieter Fourie, a colleague of the victims, said on Thursday: “Everything went well. No one was angry at anyone.

“Why the shooting happened we do not know.”

Martin van Deventer shot Johan Griessel, 50, Pieter Erasmus, 53, and Wimpie van Heerden, 56, on Wednesday at Du Randt and Richards, a firm of attorneys in Zwartkop, Centurion, before shooting himself.

Property deal

Griessel and Erasmus reportedly owed Van Deventer R6m after they had bought his land near Strubenvale, Springs, for R12m for a property development, said their attorney, Louis du Randt, on Thursday.

Van Heerden advised both parties. Du Randt said the remaining R6m was contractually due to Van Deventer only when the development was under way.

Deon Beukman, Van Deventer’s attorney, and Fourie agreed that the development had yet commenced.

Mayborn Investments 75 - of which Griessel and Erasmus were directors - would have managed the development, named Villa Valy Residential Estate.

Beukman said a couple of walls had been erected, but no homes had been built yet.

This was reportedly because certain documentation still had to be approved.

Fourie said the development had been dragging for three years because of a delay in the estate’s establishment.

Wednesday's meeting was to sort out some aspects of the development between Griessel, Erasmus and Van Deventer, said Fourie.

No money to pay

Beukman said did not know that Van Deventer was armed when he went into the meeting.

Beukman said Van Deventer shot the three developers when they told him: “There is no money to pay you.”

Van Deventer allegedly asked Griessel, Erasmus and Van Heerden: “Are you sure? Because those are your last words.”

Van Deventer then shot each man in the head. He then stood over their bodies and shot them again before taking his own life.

Seven shots were reportedly fired, but this could not be confirmed by police spokesperson Annabelle Middleton.

Beukman said he did not know Van Deventer very well and did not know what his financial position was.

Van Deventer, who lived in Somerset West, had travelled to Pretoria on Tuesday, where he reportedly owned another property.

He was unmarried and had a son from a previous marriage.

His partner, who lived in Gordon's Bay, did not want to speak to the media on Thursday.

  • Marion - 2012-03-30 11:49

    Tragic. May they RIP.

      Steenkamp - 2012-03-31 04:32

      It was a lose, lose transaction and I think it started with the deed of sale drafted by one lawyer for both parties

  • Kieron - 2012-03-30 12:03

    I cannot comprehend the anguish the shooter must have been dealing with for this to make sense, so many people tragically affected by a land deal, what a shame . My thoughts and prayers go out to all families concerned, truly heart breaking.

      derekneilmaclachlan - 2012-03-30 13:39

      I unfortunately deal with this type of dishonesty every month when tenants who owe me rent cant pay their rent on time.....but you will see their cars outside resturants...or they are travelling the country....on my money...I have also taken the hard line now.....but dont worry tenants I wont shoot you!!!

  • Willie - 2012-03-30 12:12

    It was wrong to kill people but these big boy developers are out to tell people get knotted. I hope white collar sharks leant some thing from this.

      Gordon - 2012-03-30 12:19

      I have every sympathy for the shooter as I do for families of the victims and it is hard to comment without the exact details, but it is a movie that plays out in lawyers offices all over SA, everyday. Deal is done and one party has little or no intention of being honest in the process. They then hide behind a lawyer that forces the aggrieved party to incur more costs chasing shadows. The lawyers treat it like a game and milk it for every penny and the person in the wrong lives a life funded through ill gotten gains. Access to cheaper, faster civil law is LONG overdue in SA.

      Evan - 2012-03-30 12:40

      Would like to respond to Gordon... Posted my comment before seeing yours. I think you are spot on...The very fact that he was now involved with some sort of litigation must have been the cherry on the top. Imagine these guys owing him money dodging and diving, eventually gets them all together ... well the rest is history, if one puts oneself in his shoes, one must be able to understand his frustrations. I wonder if the lawyers were working toward closure or just milking it for every cent.

      Don.Tandy - 2012-03-30 12:48

      @Gordon - true words. Unfortunately SA has become a 'land of no consequence' with so much crime, especially white collar crime, carrying on blatantly ignoring any laws or moral sense of decency. The sick attitude of so many South Africans is evident whichever way you look - on our roads, in our government, public service organisations, you name it............and why we may ask? Because there are no consequences, and South Africans do not have the maturity, strength of character or moral fibre to understand and appreciate that you are still committing a crime even if you don’t get caught, and that rules and regulations are there for everyone to abide by.

      duane.loubser - 2012-03-30 14:43

      How can you guys "have every sympathy for the shooter?" He went there with 2 guns and 8 magazines of ammo which means that he planned on killing all of them if he did not get the answer that he wanted. If someone owes you money and they don't pay, do you arm yourself with every intention of killing them if they tell you that you can't get your money just yet? We don't know the exact terms of the land sale with regards to when the remaining 50% was due...there's every possibility that they were not contractually obligated to pay him the remaining money yet. And what about Van Heerden? He was assisting both parties and does not seem to be part of the actual deal/dispute, so seems to have been killed for nothing whilst trying to mediate an argument between other people. Van Deventer is a bloody nutcase - That's it!!! If you are trying to show sympathy for a murder/suicide then you are mental

      Evan - 2012-03-30 16:03

      Would like to address one is saying they are sympathetic to the shooter, in my case I am saying I have full understanding of why he may have wanted to resort to vilolence. In no way am I condoning murder, BUT I know exactly how it feels to have people owe me money and have the avoid my calls, emails and eventually have to go the legal route. For the most part people could not care less, because they know that your going to an attorney will not neccesarily force them to pay, so as someone has already stated, they live off your money while incur the costs of not having what they owe you as well as legal costs. And of course the attorneys smile cause the outcome does not affect them as long as they get paid, and rest assured they make sure they do.

      Francois - 2012-03-30 16:43

      @daune.loubser- You are muddling your tenses; The old man was a nut-case and not as you said "is a nutcase".

  • Willie - 2012-03-30 12:14

    It was wrong to kill people, bit this could be a good leason for these fancy developers (white collar thievs) that make and break honest working people.

  • Koos - 2012-03-30 12:18

    I might be mistaken but were the late Mr, van Deventer not the same guy that had to take the government to court because of the squatters on his Nooitgedacht farm. It took 11 years of legal ramblings before he eventually got paid. Perhaps he thought this was another of those long legal processes and he decided to resolve it in this tragic way.

  • Evan - 2012-03-30 12:35

    "no anger" that seems MOST unlikely! Van Deventer did not just shoot them on a whim, he travelled from Somerset West, organized the firearm and ammo. He was no-doubt angry because he'd been given the run-around for three years, so much so that he had already considered what he would do if he was not to be paid the money owed. One can only speculate as to how much he may have needed that money and when it did not materialize he resorted to plan "B". My question is, if he was NOT angry as we are told, what was he???

      Loo - 2012-03-30 12:54

      Fargone, I agree ... In afrikaans we have a term for it. HE WAS GATVOL !!

      Koos - 2012-03-31 10:06

      Seriously Gatvol.

  • Ntombizakhona Nkosi - 2012-03-30 12:36

    so sad may they rest in peace

  • Ariado - 2012-03-30 12:39

    It looks more like "R6m owed behind Centurion shooting"?

  • bluzulu - 2012-03-30 12:43

    Premeditated then,

      Ally - 2012-03-30 16:30

      Provoked to the extreme is more like it

  • Roberto - 2012-03-30 12:45

    Martin van Deventer RIP.Job well done.I would have done the same for my hard earned money if taken for a ride with no regrets.Thanks Martin you have send out a powerfull massage not to take good people for granted it may cost you your life.May God have mercy on your soul

      les422 - 2012-03-30 13:25

      He shouldn't have taken his life. Where is he going to repent his killing of four people including himself. Jo.

      Francois - 2012-03-30 16:50

      @Irma, so what would happen if everybody does what the mad old man did? Lets see, no more Sharemax, no more vrotmelk scams, no more old people having to eat petfood because of cons. I don't condone his actions but I do appreciate his guts and uber-logic before doing what he did.

      Luvo - 2012-03-31 12:51

      @Roberto - agreed bro. Those who have never been in a situation whereby lawyers stole from them what was legally theirs and then hide behind the legal claptrap will never understand.

  • Loo - 2012-03-30 12:49

    Van Deventer allegedly asked Griessel, Erasmus and Van Heerden: “Are you sure? Because those are your last words.” LOL .. damn .. If I ever hear those words in my life again ill immediately say something like " I have lots of money , plse allow me to give it to you ... my pal my buddy"

      nduduzo2 - 2012-03-31 08:27

      This is funny. I would beg for my life. Cry if I have to

  • Roberto - 2012-03-30 12:51

    Martin van Deventer RIP.I would have done the same for my hard earn sweat to be taken away by crooks.Martin you have send out a powerfull massage not to take people foe granted it may cost you dearly and having your family in tears.Go well Martin JOB WELL DONE.May God have mercy on your soul.

      Irma - 2012-03-30 16:09

      Robert, people get conned and scammed everyday. A friend of mine just had R400k stolen from him by his business "partner". These things happen, but imagine what would happen if everyone killed anyone that had caused them some sort of financial loss or emotional termoil. You cannot justify a murder unless it was in self defense. Business is a tough game. Take a page out of Donal Trumps book- he was declared bankrupt at one stage but managed to get himself out the gutter. MANY people lose everything they have. MANY people get themselves into debt with failed businesses. Fact is, you just can't go around killing people for reasons like this!

  • ludlowdj - 2012-03-30 12:53

    A few more people with the balls to pay the ultimate price to ensure those responsible pay, and we will see a very quick change in the way businessmen and government handle people they owe money to and the way people conduct business. The statement “Everything went well. No one was angry at anyone." although maybe true is also misdirection as van Deventer has obviously been upset for a while and obviously knew he was being taken for a ride, why would he otherwise have prepared for this outcome? Although I don't have enough facts to make any informed statements, I believe this is a case of smug and dishonest businessmen getting what they deserved.

  • odupreez - 2012-03-30 12:53

    The "honest" guys with "integrity" (all comments by friends and family) were not so honest and had no intention of paying (?), walls had been built - thus construction of sorts had been done - so pay up , but no rather hide behind fat cat lawyers who will stretch this forever (they obviously were misleading the shooter)

  • Tracy - 2012-03-30 12:54

    Can you imagine how pissed off he must've been to resort to killing them and killing himself. They've probably been keeping him on a string for the last three years and it just snapped. What a tragedy that could've been averted with truth and communication.

      Evan - 2012-03-30 16:08

      Yup can imagine, probably figured they destroyed him emotionally, if not financially and wanted to make them pay, and just figured if he was going down, he'd take a couple of them with him. Yes he must have been super-angry.

  • radlegend - 2012-03-30 12:55

    This is all just too sad. Desperation or frustration led this man to kill 3 people, and take his own life. This is just too too sad for words.

      les422 - 2012-03-30 13:34

      I agree, too sad indeed. Because he killed the innocent one as well. Guess who?

      Allstar - 2012-03-30 13:50

      A long time ago, a Business Man was a respected Peer. A long time ago, a thug was identifiable by his dress and his actions. Nowadays, it's impossible to tell the differance!!! This man stood his ground and is a hero. My condolences to his family.

      Irma - 2012-03-30 16:03

      I truely hope you feel the same about beggers on the street and the likes, because they are desperate too.

  • smohloli - 2012-03-30 12:55

    well it was HIS money, and it doesnt take 3 years to sort out a few contractual issues, they were riding him ayt...every1 has a breaking point, MTSRIP

  • radlegend - 2012-03-30 12:58

    Although it's sad Martin van Deventer is dead...i agree with everyone else...he is a hero in a way by showing other thieving lawyer/property scum what could potentially happen to them.

  • radlegend - 2012-03-30 13:05

    Premeditated homicide-suicide. Which only means that these lawyers and property developers had been giving him stories for a while already... *fascinating*

  • Irene - 2012-03-30 13:19

    Pity van Deventer shot himself as well. I would have asked him to sort out PicVest and Sharemax.

      sandra.j.rennie - 2012-03-30 15:15

      Hi Irene Yes the Sharemax thing is quite something. Isn't it. One of the Directors have property in Mauritius or Seychells, something to that effect. Never mind the shareholders that they ripped off.

  • gerhard.klinger - 2012-03-30 13:51

    Paperwork and red tape caused this....

  • Irma - 2012-03-30 14:02

    I can’t believe that you guys are condoning these deaths. This guy shot three people in cold blood- yes they owed him money but as Du Randt stated; they were only legally obliged to pay once the construction started. Van Deventer obviously agreed to those terms in the beginning- he can’t go shooting people now that he needs the money!!! He’s a lawyer; he could have drawn up a better contract if needed! I cannot believe that this criminal (yes, Van Deventer is a criminal, a murderer no matter WHAT the circumstances are, no matter HOW desperate he was) gets your sympathy. Three families have lost loved ones over money. Three families have lost a father, a son, a husband and a brother. Think about that before you name these victims as criminals, because I guarantee you wouldn’t be saying this if it was your family.

      mike.clery - 2012-03-30 14:27

      Unless you're VERY wealthy, it's almost impossible to get money out of anyone who HAS the money to "defend" not paying what they owe you. The lesson is that you always consider that before parting with your money or property. And hopefully the other lesson is for those vultures out there - manipulating the legal system may not always help you.

      Trudy - 2012-03-30 14:29

      I’m with you Irma. It seems as if we are losing our humanity.

      Jane - 2012-03-30 14:29

      Irma they were criminals too! they took his land and didn’t pay him for it. Yes what he did was wrong but those developers were not innocent so they will not get any sympathy from me. building walls, no matter how small or how many were built is part of the development of a estate. we don’t know what the other terms and conditions were of the agreement but if they didn’t specify that the “start of development” was the actual building of houses then he was entitled to the money.

      Irene - 2012-03-30 14:41

      Trudy ~ The two that withheld the money were the one's that lost their humanity.

      Linda - 2012-03-30 14:58

      I strongly doubt that he shot them in cold blood. After three years of being jerked around by these guys his blood must have been boiling. As for drawing up a better contract, the guy was apparently acting in good faith but once the "Developers" had his land they could drag their feet for as long as they chose, knowing they had him over a barrel. Time for the Hot Shots to start playing fair.

      Irma - 2012-03-30 16:02

      @Mike, if this guy had such money problems then he should have stated that half paid upfront, then in monthly installments or something. Even if he didn’t have money problems then, everyone knows that the future is uncertain and anything can happen. He got himself into this mess too! @Trudy, thank you for agreeing with me. Look how many thumbs down we get though. @Jane, how do you know they were criminals? Did you have a look at the contract? How do you know the problems weren’t genuine? My father has been trying to buy his house for nearly four years, he is spending a small fortune every month paying the rates and stuff that he isn’t liable for (just for example he had to pay over R100k in outstanding rates that the owner wasn’t paying because the electricity was disconnected), but he isn’t about to shoot the owner of the house! Unless you KNOW all the facts, you cannot say truthfully they were crooks. @Linda, they were not armed, they didn’t even know they were about to walk into the last meeting they will ever have. It was cold blood. I have dealt with people in the exact same business, the one business group have now for two years been working on a big property development. Yes, it is costing them money and they are not a huge company that can actually afford it but they are not shooting each other! This country is in a lot of trouble if murders are being condoned like this.

      Linda - 2012-03-30 16:12

      Irma, there's a huge difference between understanding why a person takes such drastic action, and condoning it. Yes, it's awful that these people died but I for one can understand the level of frustration van Deventer felt. That doesn't mean I condone the killing of any person.

      Evan - 2012-03-30 16:18

      Rarely do I get hyped about news24 articles, but come on, you think that these developers and their attorneys were squeaky clean, I somehow doubt it very much. What started as a business venture that would have been profitable for everyone soured and ended up at the attorneys. They had stated building and owed van Deventer money, they were disputing it and tried to tie him up legally. I doubt that they were innocent. van Deventers actions may have made him a criminal but rest assured, he did not do what he did without believing he had a very, very good reason to take up arms against them. This guy was no hardened pscho-killer, he shot them with a .22 if I understand the article correctly, not like he waltzed in there with guns blazing. They pushed him over the edge... Not the first time this has ever happened and most likely not the last.

      Irma - 2012-03-30 16:34

      Linda, people are condoning these murders- calling this guy a hero and all that. How is he a hero? He didn’t run into a burning building to save a cat, he didn’t risk drowning in the sea to save a child. He hasn’t risked jail time for the freedom of others- he killed three people that have done no serious crime. I know people are calling for the death penalty for murders and rapists, but since when does a bad business deal and *possibly* bad business ethics fall into that category? @Fargone, even if they weren’t completely innocent, did they deserve to die? No, they didn’t. A lot of people get pushed over the edge BUT it is no excuse for murder!

      mike.clery - 2012-03-30 16:49

      @Irma - until I know the facts, I'll reserve judgement. It's natural for people to assume the man was reacting to being "cheated" because it looks the most likely on the little information available. For all we know he could have just gone postal. But my comments weren't specifically about this case, just a general warning against being taken by the many vultures out there. And very specifically that civil law is on the side of those with the most resources.

      Evan - 2012-03-30 17:32

      No Irma, they probably did not deserve to die for their behavior, however, the world we live in is made up of a multitude of different "personalities" , the deceased were not to know that they had pushed him beyond his thresh hold. The maxim, do unto others... certainly holds true here, for the fact of the matter is that we never quite know what the consequences of our actions could be. I am in no way condoning murder, the point I am merely making is that I can imagine how van Deventer must have felt. A number of respondents here have called him a "hero" for standing up against would be, bullies. I would not go that far, as it does not change the fact that lives were lost. I can only imagine that van Deventer must have thought it through to some extent. What was he to do, he had tried to get his money before, and for three years was given the run-around (one assumes). The matter had become a legal matter because there was seemingly no solution. Even so, he was still being held at bay. True, so much of this is mere speculation, we do not have all the facts, having said that I reiterate... I understand how he must have felt to some degree.

      karen.inward - 2012-03-30 17:55

      Irma, I don't think you understand the issue at all. Or you have never been owed money by someone who has no intention to pay.

  • Serite - 2012-03-30 14:06


  • Fanie - 2012-03-30 14:18

    There is no way that 3 lives could be wasted for R 6m! Life is sacred and is not ours to take, no matter what the circumstances.

      karen.inward - 2012-03-30 17:58

      So you would not mind lending R6m to someone and not getting it back?

  • Rudie - 2012-03-30 14:26


  • lmadikwe - 2012-03-30 14:26

    On the movie 300, the messenger said to the king: choose your next words carefully as they might your last as king. Surely this guy meditated on that dialogue before taking out his frustration on this guys

  • Diego - 2012-03-30 14:51

    I am absolutely appalled by all these comments!!! Who are you to justify the tragic death of 3 men with families and children?? Is it really worth R6m?? NO! Please just get your facts straight before you try and act smart. The article clearly states that "Du Randt said the remaining R6m was contractually due to Van Deventer only when the development was under way". For those of you who make common remarks and know nothing about property, when a sum this large is envolved, the contract usually states that only half of the purchase price is due when the contract is signed and the rest whenever the parties agree on - as in this case, only when the development was under way. Mr. van Deventer signed a contract and he knew exactly what he was signing when the contract got drawn up. There are no excuses. This man had some deeper issues that we are obviously not aware of. What would happen if all of us resort to such barbaric violence when we are not satisfied with the way business is going?? If you justified this murder in your little mind... Please don't ever complain about the way things are going in our country or the way it's run by our politicians because you just made yourself a part of them! What if it was YOUR family sitting in that office? These comments are absolutely barbaric. Today I am ashamed to say I am South African! It's disgusting to see that the majority love money enough to take a life!!

      Diego - 2012-03-30 14:54

      Oh and the way you people make out the Lawyers to be the bad guys here is truely a sign of stupidity! And when you get yourself into some trouble... you run to the lawyers!! Ironic, isn't it?

      Irene - 2012-03-30 15:03

      You've obviously never worked your backside off for something only to be screwed around by thieves .... More than likely you're one of those in the PicVest debacle and are now scared about the justice that'll be metered out to you shortly.

      Irene - 2012-03-30 15:05

      And I bet that if the two scumbags who tried to stall everything knew what was coming their way, they might've caught a wake up and started developing the property instead of leaving to a never, never basis.

      Buck - 2012-03-30 15:28

      Care to define what "underway" means Diego.

      Irma - 2012-03-30 16:05

      I agree Diego.

      karen.inward - 2012-03-30 18:00

      The condescending tone of your posting is deplorable.

      Susan - 2012-03-30 19:18

      What about Van Deventers familie?Mabe they realy need that money to survive!!!!

      Miki - 2012-03-30 19:38

      Thank goodness - some sanity at last! It seems everybody who commented here have ALL the FACTS, they know the killer's mind, thoughts, motives, they know FOR A FACT that he was being done in and that's why he shot three other people, etc... What balderdash. It seems there were more witnesses to this shooting than only the people in the boardroom at the time. It's tragic, and it's WRONG. Oh, and then the LAWYERS are to blame - not only for this tragedy (mind you, the lawyers were the only ones that did not get killed, makes you think..) but for every crooked deal in the country, for every bad debt, and lord knows what else... My word, what a society of morons do we live in! No wonder the world is in the state that it is....

      Diego - 2012-04-01 11:28

      @ InwardK... I was raised with great morals & values, I thank God & my parents for that. I'm sorry if you agree with barbaric killings over money.

  • Napolita - 2012-03-30 15:30

    Just love the comments on here ;) Says a lot!!!

  • Dreyer - 2012-03-30 16:01

    I wonder how ShareMax is feeling wright now. i have family and friends that lost millions to them.

  • Philip - 2012-03-30 16:02

    i think the garek crowd should be sorted the same way . 8 years no performans , only a lot of bull manure

  • Francois - 2012-03-30 16:59

    Wouldn't it be nice if somebody go and ask the Sharemax bosses (Willie Botha & Andre Brand) "Are you sure you can't repay our money". That would be true justice. ...............and that other Auntie that ran the pyramid scheme on the Vaaldriehoek.

  • Zion - 2012-03-31 11:45

    Somehow, somewhere, there seems to have been a case of possible fraud lurking, or intention of fraud to do the owner out of his legal payment. It is difficult to take sides seeing all the crime and fraud in this country of ours.

  • tallentonline - 2012-03-31 12:27

    This is very sad.. May their families be blessed, surely it's a difficult time for all affected families!!

  • Bulelwa - 2012-03-31 18:50

    This is heartbreaking. Mr Deventer probably took his life because he couldn't face a jail sentence for fighting for what was his own after he felt robed. Just like one gets sentenced for life when acting in self defense and the killer gets few years in jail to come out for more. Visa Versa.

  • Bulelwa - 2012-03-31 19:08

    Since the law seem to protect the criminals and the victims continue being victimized. He took his life too so that he won't have to experience injustice.

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