Durban - An elderly South Coast couple were tied up with wire, brutally beaten, had paint poured on them and were left for dead this week. It was not until the next day that they were found.
The couple, of Effingham Place, Trafalgar, south of Southbroom and San Lameer, were subject to the assault by a gang of men.
The attack has shocked police and paramedics.
Frieda Gey van Pittius, 80, was at home on Wednesday waiting for her husband Oscar, 82, to return from work. Oscar arrived home at 1pm to find a large branch obstructing his driveway, according to the police.
“He got out of the car to remove the branch so he could park his car inside,” an officer said.
“A group of men, their faces covered by balaclavas, emerged and attacked him. They manhandled him and forced him inside the car,” the policeman said.
“He was held at gunpoint and ordered to drive in and not make a noise. He obeyed and put the car in the garage.”
The men, wielding knives, sticks and pangas, closed the garage door and began beating Oscar.
Frieda aheard the commotion and went to investigate. She was also attacked.
“They were both taken to the living room where they were beaten with sticks, struck with pangas and kicked and punched (all over) their bodies.”
The men demanded cash and valuables. The couple were taken through the rooms and told to identify expensive valuables.
They were beaten repeatedly as the men ransacked the house.
According to police spokesman Jay Naicker, the men took cash, a video camera, two watches, a wedding ring and a gun, taken from a safe.
The men then tied up the couple with wire, grabbed a can of paint and threw it over them before leaving. The couple were left helpless for at least 15 hours on the floor of their living room.
Their tenant made the horror discovery at 6am on Thursday and phoned their son, also named Oscar, who drove from Marina Beach and contacted the police before taking the couple to Margate Hospital, where they were admitted to ICU.
A traumatised Oscar (son) told The Mercury that he was shocked: “They were so badly beaten that I could not recognise them. Their faces are swollen.
“Dad has multiple injuries and fractures. The brutality is shocking. They were extremely beaten.”
Oscar said it was difficult for any child to see a parent beaten in such a “cruel manner”.
“The whole family are shocked and horrified. We cannot stop crying. We fail to understand why this kind of brutality was necessary.”
His parents were vulnerable and defenceless, Oscar said. “Why could they not just take what they wanted and leave them alone?”
A policeman who went to the home described what he saw as “inhumane”. “I have never seen anything like that,” he said. “The whole house had bloodstains. I cannot understand why they were splashed with paint. It was really horrific.”
Naicker said a task team had been assembled. He advised that families should have at least one dog, trained to sleep inside the house.
He gave these safety tips:
* If you leave your residence, inform your family/neighbours of your intended destination, time you expect to return and the route you will be driving, especially in a rural area.
* If you are unsure about the security of your home – for example, your dogs do not come to the gate – do not enter.
Early on Tuesday, a couple were shot dead in front of two children at their extension Three Madadeni (Newcastle) home. The 64-year-old man and the 58-year-old woman were asleep when the men stormed in and killed them.