Flippie cuts ties with carers

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Flippie Engelbrecht, 19, alleges his blindness and epilepsy were the result of an assault by Rietvallei farm manager Wilhelm Treurnicht in 2008. The court has heard that medical evidence suggests his condition today is the result of a brain abscess. Photo: Jeffrey Abrahams

Cape Town - The young man who lost both his hands in an alleged attack by a farmer has parted ways with the good Samaritans who came to his rescue.

Flippie Engelbrecht, 20, has now cut ties with the Freedom Trust, who took up his plight after the crippling attack.

On Tuesday, he returned to his Robertson family home for the first time in eight months.

The trust’s Carina Papenfus – an ex-lawyer – moved him and his family in August last year, claiming that taking them out of Robertson was in their best interest.

But in October, after a fallout between the parents and the trust over alleged abuse of Flippie, parents Flip and Katriena returned to Robertson.

Flippie remained behind in the care of the trust’s Margaret le Roux.

On Tuesday, Flip and Katriena as well as his younger sister Sanna waited anxiously for his return after hearing the news that Papenfus had dropped him at Grabouw Police Station on Monday.

They welcomed him with open arms and eagerly showed him their new home in Kanini-West, on the outskirts of Robertson.

“I am very fortunate and happy that he is back,” an emotional Katriena, 49, told the Daily Voice.

“It was my wish that the family could once again come together like we did before the case.”

Katriena and Flip say their lives took a bad turn when the farm owner accused of assaulting Flippie committed suicide.

Johnny Burger – owner of the Rietvallei Wine Estate – is believed to have taken his own life, leaving only his farm foreman Wilhelm “Dozi” Treurnicht to face the charges of assault when the case resumes in August.

Burger and Treurnicht allegedly beat a then 16-year-old Flippie so badly he was left blind.

Flippie then started having epileptic fits. During one of these attacks he fell onto a fire, leaving him with severe burns which forced doctors to amputate his hands.

“After that (Burger’s suicide), people’s attitude towards us changed and I am still struggling to find work,” said Flip.

It was after this that the Freedom Trust removed the Engelbrechts from Robertson.

On Monday, Le Roux took Flippie to Papenfus on his request because he wanted to return to his parents.

“She didn’t put me out,” insisted Flippie.

“She (Margaret) took me to Carina’s (Papenfus) house because she is not the one who took me away from my parents. So it is not her (Margaret’s) responsibility to take me back home.”

Flippie said Papenfus then insulted his parents when she took him to Grabouw police station.

“She said my parents are lying in a hole and they stink so bad that she cannot even go close to them,” said an upset Flippie.

“That was very nasty of her.”

He said Papenfus also turned on him, saying she hopes he loses the case.

“She told me she hopes I lose the case then she will see to it that the police lock me, my father and mother up,” an emotional Flippie claimed.

He said after being dropped at the Grabouw police station, he hiked all the way to Robertson.

However, Papenfus has vehemently denied Flippie’s version of events.

She claims she left Flippie in the care of the SAPS because it is “the safest place to leave a homeless, disabled person”.

“We entrusted him into the safety of the police so that they could contact the relevant parties to care for Flippie,” explained Papenfus.

She claims Flippie was temporarily placed in Le Roux’s care while they were communicating with various organisations to provide care for him, because he did not want to live with his parents.

“Flippie is entitled to care by a suitable State institution like social services,” she explained.

“Social services must now step in and honour their respnsibility towards him.”

Daily Voice


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