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Cape Town - A Stellenbosch man looking forward to celebrating his 60th birthday in his dream retirement home has been bludgeoned to death with a pick.
Jochen Rädel and his wife, Christiane, moved to the Western Cape from Joburg several years ago after their 18-year-old daughter, Stefanie, was killed in a car crash in 2007.
The Rädels stayed on a farm in Devon Valley, at the foot of the Papagaaiberg, while they built their dream retirement home on a neighbouring farm in the valley.
The house was due to be completed in about a month. On Sunday, Rädel went to the house at around 2pm to inspect progress.
Later, when he could not be reached by phone, his son drove to the property where he found his father had been attacked with a pick and had suffered severe injuries to his head and face.
He was taken to the Stellenbosch Medi-Clinic, where he died on Monday morning.
“He was so excited about his coming birthday party at their new home,” a friend said. “The family is in tremendous shock and pain.”
In early 2011, Stellenbosch farmowners began expressing concern that a gang was terrorising the town, after Alberto Costa, 45, was shot dead by intruders on his wine farm, Cloetesdal.
Philip Kriel, vice-chairman of the Stellenbosch Agricultural Society, said that over the past year farmers had been targeted regularly.
He had been robbed five or six times in the past year, mostly by thieves looking for copper.
This prompted several high-level meetings between the provincial police and local farmers, which led to a series of major police operations.
Last month, a number of farm robberies were reported.
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk said: “Indications suggested that criminals target isolated areas, especially on farms where vehicle access is limited.”