Kimberley businesswoman Magrietha (Rikkie) Alsemgeest, 67, has shared the details of Wednesday morning’s horrific attack that took place on Piet Els’ farm just outside Kimberley.
Alsemgeest was attacked, together with her 86-year-old partner, Els, by four people who entered their bedroom and viciously assaulted the elderly couple, leaving them with serious injuries including extensive burns.
Speaking from her bed in the Emergency Ward at Gariep Mediclinic, shortly before being admitted to the hospital’s high care unit, the soft-spoken woman, who owns Kimberley Clothing, said the attack happened between 1am and 2am this morning.
“They smashed down the kitchen door to gain access into the house. We woke up and heard a noise but thought it was the animals on the farm because the bedroom is situated far away from the kitchen.”
Alsemgeest said the attackers then broke through the interconnecting door which leads to the bedrooms. “We realised that something was happening and got up. By that time four men were already inside the bedroom. I am not sure if there more waiting outside.”
She said the attackers had disconnected the generator, so they could not switch on the lights. “It was pitch dark and they were all wearing black. I think some of them had also covered their faces.”
At least one of the attackers was armed with a pistol. “I am not sure if the others also had firearms but they were holding steel pipes.”
The attackers demanded money and weapons from the couple, brutally torturing them in an attempt to find out where the safe was.
“They attacked Els, kicking and hitting him viciously with the steel pipes … on his body, in his face … all over. I eventually told them where the safe was.”
Alsemgeest was also attacked by the intruders. “They ripped off my nightie and hit me repeatedly with the steel pipes on the top part of my body and across my knees.”
She was also burnt with an iron across her legs and on her head, leaving her hair singed.
They strapped her mouth closed. “I don’t know what they used but it was various items that they must have picked up around the house. All I could feel was a canvas strap, something like the strap of a bag, that they used to put around my mouth.”
Sporting massive bruising on her breasts and knees, as well as an impression of where the iron burnt into her thighs, Alsemgeest also has marks where she was choked with a rope around her neck.
Her feet were bound and her hands tied behind her back.
“While they were attacking me, they were also hitting and kicking Els, demanding that he open the safe but with all of this going on he couldn’t get it open.
“He was struggling – he tried but they were repeatedly hitting and attacking us. It was dark and he couldn’t open the safe.”
Els was also tied up and burnt with the iron on the back of his legs and on his back. “He was badly beaten – they hit him in the face, across his body, kicking him all over.”
The attackers broke open the storeroom and found Els’ grinder, which they used to force open the safe.
“They took everything inside the safe, including money, Kruger Rands, jewellery, weapons, our cell phones and also the car and house keys.”
Alsemgeest said the entire ordeal lasted for two to three hours. “It was starting to get light before they eventually fled in Els’ Mercedes,” she said.
“I managed to press the panic button to alert the workers, who live relatively far from the main house. They all came to assist when they heard the alarm and called the police and emergency services, who arrived at around 6am.”
Els’ injuries included a fractured skull and burns as well as extensive injuries to his face where he was hit with the pipe and kicked.
“The entire ordeal felt so unreal. I cannot believe it actually happened. Although we wanted to co-operate and give them what they wanted, we couldn’t because they kept on beating us.”
The farm house was ransacked and it is not certain what else was taken.
Els, who has close ties to ANC members in the province, was unable to speak to the media due to the seriousness of his injuries.