“Don’t kill me, you can take anything you want,” cried Peet van Es (55) before he was brutally murdered during a farm attack on Friday night at Moseley Farm on the R40 outside Barberton.
He was stabbed to death, and two people were assaulted when five armed suspects wearing balaclavas entered his house after 20:00.
Van Es, and his wife Arine Prins, were in their home with a family friend when the incident occurred.
The family is originally from the Netherlands, but moved to South Africa many years ago.
When Barberton Times visited the victims’ home on Saturday morning, they found Prins with bruises on her face from the attack.
She told the newspaper that three armed men had entered the house and two had followed them later.
“My husband was upstairs sleeping and we were downstairs when they arrived. They told us to be quiet and immediately took my phone. Then they tied our hands and feet using speaker wires they found in our house.
“They assaulted me, demanding to know where we keep the safe in the house.
“They covered my head with a plastic bag and used a pillow to try to suffocate me.
“During this torment, some went upstairs and stabbed my husband.
Before they killed him, I could hear him screaming, asking them not to kill him but they did. He told them to take anything they wanted but that didn’t stop them.
“They took the jewellery I was wearing and other things in the house before leaving our property. After they left, I screamed for help so that our neighbours could hear us and help. Fortunately for us, they heard me,” said Prins.
The suspects left after 00:00.
Hi-Tech Barberton were the first to respond. Sakkie Dednam, of Hi-Tech, said that they received a phone call about a farm attack at 00:36.
“We immediately responded to the call by sending officers to the scene. Our officers were the first at the scene.
“They arrived at 00:50. On their arrival, the deceased was already dead,” said Dednam.
The local police were also called.
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According to Brig. Leonard Hlathi, SAPS provincial spokesman, they have not arrested anyone yet.
“The police are investigating a murder and housebreaking case. A case of farm murder and house robbery has been opened. The deceased was stabbed with an unknown object when a struggle ensued between him and the suspects.
“The suspects stole various electrical appliances, including televisions and loaded them into the victim’s silver Chevrolet Utility bakkie with a white canopy and drove off,” said Hlathi.
The vehicle was later discovered abandoned in Brander Street, Mbombela by Hi-Tech Nelspruit on Tuesday morning.
Dirk Bierman from Hi-Tech Nelspruit, said according to business employees in the area it was likely abandoned there since the weekend. “A community member who read the article spotted it and informed us. Some of the people said they first saw it on Monday morning,”
The police were also called to the scene.
The provincial commissioner, Lt Gen Mondli Zuma, has issued a warning to anyone involved.
“To anyone that is involved in this kind of evil, you can run but you cannot hide. It is only a matter of time before we catch you and send you to where people like you belong. You will stay there for a very long time,” said Zuma.
Anyone with information that may assist the investigation can call Lt Col Ruben Pilusa on 071-525-1839, SAPS Crimestop on 08600-10111 or contact the nearest police station.
A memorial service will be held for Van Es on the farm at 15:00 on Friday.