A Rietvlei man who was eagerly awaiting the birth of his child later this year has been killed by a gang of house robbers. He died on Saturday morning despite the desperate efforts of his partner and her two small children who tried to carry him to the car after he was shot.
Johan “Jo” Erasmus, 40, died while trying to safeguard his partner, Aneke Gardiner, and her two children, Aidan, 5, and Mike, 8. He confronted at least five robbers when they tried to break into the cottage where the couple lived on a smallholding near Stone Cradle.
Erasmus was shot in the head and later died in the Kalafong Hospital.
Gardiner said she woke at about 2am on Saturday when she heard people talking outside. “I woke up Jo. He ran downstairs and encountered a robber who was already inside the house. He had climbed through a window. The other four were trying to break open the door.
“I ran to the bedroom where my two children were sleeping and I took them upstairs with me to our bedroom. We sat on the bed while Jo confronted the robbers downstairs.”
Gardiner said the men were demanding laptops and other goods.
“Jo shouted at me to bring the laptop. I was on my way down when I heard shots and saw Jo falling down.
“The robbers were still outside, but after Jo was shot, they broke down the door and came into the house.”
Gardiner went back upstairs and the robbers stormed after her.
They demanded jewellery, which she did not have. They then took her cellphone, a flat-screen TV and the laptop, before fleeing.
Gardiner had bruising on the side of her face where the robbers had hit her with the butt of a firearm.
The robbers left without harming the children, but Gardiner said the youngsters were extremely upset and cried bitterly after the ordeal.
However, they were extremely brave and had tried to help their mother to carry Erasmus to the car to take him to hospital. They also ran to fetch towels to try to stop the bleeding.
“We tried to drag him, but he was too heavy. He was still conscious and tried to get up to walk, but he could not. He fell down, moaned and tried to say something I could not hear.”
Gardiner said she picked him up by his upper body, while each child tried to lift a foot, but they could not manage. A neighbour who heard the gunshots, had phoned for an ambulance which took Erasmus to hospital.
Hospital staff argued about the paperwork for some time before admitting her partner, Gardiner said. At one stage they even wanted to airlift him to the Johannesburg General Hospital as they said the hospital was full.
Eventually the staff decided to admit Erasmus to Kalafong, but he died four hours later.
Erasmus, a self-employed web designer, and his partner were expecting their first child together in September.
“He was so excited about the arrival of our baby. We did not know whether it was going to be a boy or a girl, but he could not wait. We were extremely happy and planned to get married,” said Gardiner.
Her two children loved Erasmus like their own father. “They called him ‘Space Dad’, because he knew so much about the stars. “We are devastated by his death and I am in total shock…”
Erasmus’s brother Rassie Erasmus said as far as he knew, nobody had been arrested yet. “We are meeting the Lyttelton police tomorrow (today).”
Mike Davis, the owner of the property the couple rented, said they had picked up at least nine cartridges.
There had been opportunistic crimes and robberies in the area. These have picked up over the past few months, but this was the first murder in the area in years, he said. - Pretoria News