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Hluhluwe, KwaZulu-Natal - A Hluhluwe farm manager whose family endured a nightmare 90-minute attack at the weekend, says he is praying for the gang of robbers and will continue to minister to criminals in prison.
His wife was stabbed with a pair of scissors and their eight-year-old son throttled until he passed out.
The robbers also tried to cut off the farmer’s fingers with pruning shears.
Pierre Redinger, 40, believes it was the power of prayer, his honesty and ability to speak Zulu that saved his family on Friday night, the second time they had been attacked.
His uncle, Friedel Redinger, was killed with a home-made shotgun on his farm in Kranskop in 2005.
Redinger, who manages a sugar cane and timber farm in Bushlands, 10km from Hluhluwe, said on Monday his wife, Carmen, 40, and their three children aged 8, 11 and 13 were asleep when he heard a “loud bang” upstairs, signalling the start of the vicious attack at 11pm.
Four robbers armed with a gun and knives threatened to kill his son, held a pair of scissors to his wife’s throat demanding information, and tried to cut off his fingers.
“We were very blessed and carried by God but it was very traumatic for the kids. It was so cowardly,” Redinger said.
“I told them take everything; leave my family.”
He said he sincerely prayed for the robbers, who he estimated to be aged between 25 and 30.
“How can I judge these guys, because I don’t know what example they have been given.”
Redinger said he was watching television when the robbers smashed a window and broke in.
“I was in the downstairs room watching rugby and I just heard this loud bang upstairs and then ran up the stairs.”
On his way up a gunman fired a shot at him, but missed.
“I stepped back and he shot another round off (missing again) and then we were almost in a bear hug and he put the gun to my head,” Redinger said.
He said he told the gunman that he was not armed and then switched to speaking Zulu.
“My wife was the first one they pulled out of bed. They laid her in the passage and they pulled the children out of their rooms and then it was a major process of them threatening me and trying to get me to crack to give them information,” Redinger said.
He said he complied, opened the safe and handed over his gun and jewellery. However, the gang demanded he show them a second safe, which did not exist.
“They then got a pair of scissors and stuck them in Carmen’s left hand and then they said they were going to kill my son if I did not give them information,” Redinger said.
He said they picked up his child and closed his windpipe until he appeared to have passed out. “I lashed out and smacked the guy’s hand off his neck. They were constantly kicking and punching me.”
He said the gang ransacked the house, loaded the farm vehicle with electronic goods and other valuables and again threatened to kill the family.
“The whole time my wife was praying out loud for God to have protection over our family,” Redinger said. “After he (had) threatened me like that he left.”
Redinger said the police responded quickly, blocking off roads in the area and a forensic team combed the property for clues on Saturday.
“These people need to be caught and removed from society because they were callous and cowardly to traumatise children like that,” Redinger said.
He said the incident would not deter him or his wife, who have been involved with an international prison ministry at Westville Prison, from visiting prisoners.
Police spokesman, Colonel Jay Naicker, said no arrests had been made. - Daily News