Maretha Mineur, the wife of a local doctor, was stabbed thrice by an attacker who was waiting for more than an hour at her home. Picture: Soraya Crowie

Kimberley - Kimberley Police have arrested a 25-year-old man in connection with the attack on the wife of a local specialist in their Belgravia home on Sunday morning after a senior police officer was appointed to take over the investigation into the case.

The section head of the Kimberley police’s media centre, Colonel Priscilla Naidu, added that departmental action had been instituted against the investigation officer in the original theft case at the residence of Dr Bob and Maretha Mineur on March 9.

Despite a case being opened following the original robbery at the Mineur’s home, the police failed to investigate the incident and last Sunday morning, Maretha Mineur was attacked and brutally stabbed when she arrived home after going shopping.

Mineur, who was discharged from hospital on Tuesday, was admitted to the intensive care unit of Kimberley MediClinic with three stab wounds, one of which narrowly missed the carotid artery in her neck.

According to Naidu, the man arrested in connection with the attack is expected to appear in court soon on charges of theft and robbery.

It is believed that the suspect was arrested in the Kimberley CBD on Tuesday morning. He had apparently shaved his head in an attempt to disguise his appearance after his photograph, taken from CCTV footage at the Mineur’s residence, was published in Tuesday’s DFA.

In the footage he is seen waiting for an hour-and-a-half for Mineur to arrive home. At one stage he is even seen praying.

Naidu said in a statement on Tuesday that the police are investigating a case of theft which took place at the Mineur’s residence on March 9 2014 as well as a case of robbery which occurred at the same residence on March 16.

“The investigating officer in the theft case has been replaced and departmental action has been instituted against him. Both these cases are now being investigated by a senior police officer. A 25-year-old Kimberley man has been arrested and is expected to appear in court soon on charges of theft and robbery.”

Naidu added that incidents in the areas of Belgravia, Herlear and Monument Heights were sporadic and this was the first time that a brutal attack on a resident had taken place.

“There is a sector policing vehicle in the area and police officers do regular patrols in the area.”

She added that criminal activities were the work of individuals and perpetrators were not operating in gangs.

“Community safety and the investigation of all reported crime is a priority for the police and unprofessional service delivery by our members will not be tolerated and will be dealt with harshly.”

Meanwhile, another incident of the apparent ineffectiveness of the police to investigate crimes, especially housebreak-ins, was highlighted after a Ritchie woman was confronted by a three intruders on her property only hours after her home was broken into and she reported the matter to the police.

A Ritchie man, Khulu Mapapsi, said on Tuesday that a neighbour phoned him on Monday morning to inform him that his house in Tweede Laan had been broken into.

“I was in Kimberley but I drove through to Ritchie and we confirmed that the house had been broken into and several items stolen. The door into the bedroom was smashed and there were visible fingerprints on the door and windows.”

He said he contacted the local police who came out.

“By this time it was around 4pm. The police said they had contacted the fingerprints unit but they doubted anyone would come out that night.”

By the time he contacted the DFA on Tuesday, however, no-one had come out yet.

In the meantime, Mapapisi’s girlfriend, Kehilwe Moremi, stayed over at the house while he came back to Kimberley. “She was nervous to stay on her own overnight so around 7pm she went to fetch her brother to stay with her. While she was gone, the same group of people who had broken into the house earlier in the day returned and confronted her in the yard. When they saw my girlfriend and her brother, they ran away and one of them hid in an adjacent field of lucerne.”

Mapapsi said he then rushed back to Ritchie from Kimberley and when he arrived, they saw the one suspect in the lucerne and gave chase.

“We contacted the police and one officer came out but as we were chasing the suspect, he was called out to another crime scene, also a house that had been broken into.”

He said that according to a policewoman in Ritchie, who was manning the phones, there was only one officer on duty in the town “and he had to do all the running around”.

“I am not sure what we have to do to protect our property and lives. We cannot rely on the police anymore simply because they don’t have enough personnel to do the work. It is pathetic that there is only one person on duty for this entire area.”

He added that they knew the perpetrators, who they believed had broken into their property as well as where they lived, but no attempts had been made to arrest anyone.

Naidu said in response that a case of housebreaking was opened and was under investigation. - Diamond Fields Advertiser