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Cape Town - Flippie Engelbrecht’s self-styled spokeswoman claimed death threats against him and his family have become a series of significant “bribes” to try and derail the assault case against a wine estate farm manager.
This follows reports that the blind 20-year-old has been placed in foster care after a domestic dispute at his Grabouw home on Sunday.
Wilhelm Treurnicht, the remaining accused in the assault case against Engelbrecht, is due to appear in the Ashton Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
The owner of the wine estate on which Engelbrecht was allegedly assaulted, Johnny Burger, killed himself last month.
The Freedom Trust claims the assault led to Engelbrecht going blind and developing epilepsy.
Later, during an epileptic fit, he fell into an open fire and lost both of his hands. But a former neighbour of the family said Engelbrecht had suffered from epilepsy at least two years before the alleged attack.
Trust secretary Carina Papenfus, the struck-off lawyer who is championing Engelbrecht’s cause, said this month’s court appearance almost did not happen as the amputee’s parents had been offered a substantial amount of money to withdraw the charges last week.
She said the couple were intercepted halfway between Grabouw and the Robertson police station on Sunday. “They were on their way to try and call it all off.”
Papenfus did not know how much money had been offered to the couple or who had made the offer.
But police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk confirmed police were investigating “certain farmers” who might be interfering with the case.
Papenfus claimed it was not the first time the Engelbrechts had been bribed to drop the charges.
“In 2008, when they first laid charges, most of the witnesses were paid to keep quiet.
“I don’t know who is making these offers. It could be farmers or individuals who sympathise with the accused, but I will remain strong and support Flippie right to the end,” she added.
Papenfus said Engelbrecht was now in foster care.
On Sunday, shortly after his parents were stopped from dropping the charges, Engelbrecht’s father broke down the door of their temporary family home.
Van Wyk confirmed police had been called to the scene and had arrested a 53-year-old man for malicious damage to property.
He was later released and is due to appear in the Grabouw Magistrate's Court on October 22.
Papenfus said she was happy that Engelbrecht had been removed from a “toxic” situation at home.
“The stress was making the seizures worse. He needs a safe place to stay and a chance to recuperate.”