Victims tell of horrific farm attacks at AfriForum panel discussion
Pretoria - Lobby group AfriForum on Monday held a panel discussion in Pretoria with victims of farm attacks in South Africa giving them an opportunity to tell their stories.
The panel told stories of how they were attacked and how some had close relatives killed.
The discussion, facilitated by AfriForum's deputy CEO Ernst Roets, was part of the group's campaign to call for the prioritisation of farm attacks.
Dalene Muller recounted an incident early on September 24, 2017, when her family was attacked after they arrived home from a social gathering.
"We got home, at the farm at about half-past twelve in the night. As we arrived on the farm, nothing was wrong. The dogs came to the gate, we went in and they [dogs] were quite happy to see us," she said.
"[After about 10 minutes Johnny] went outside and the next moment I heard a terrible sound. As I looked outside the door, I saw Johnny pushing somebody out the scullery door outside. I immediately realised there was something wrong. Only one thought came to my mind, that was to get my revolver. I ran to the safe. On my way to the safe, I heard two gunshots. I was busy getting my gun out of its holster when this guy stood next to me with a pistol in his hands. I knew I was also in trouble because I couldn't shoot -- the revolver was still in the holster."
Muller said the holster, with the gun, was snatched from her and the intruder demanded to know where the family's money was.
"I told him we don't have money in the house and he said to me I will shoot you. I got quite scared then because I don't think he was quite trained to handle a gun and a person who is not trained is quite dangerous, I think. Then my son came to us, and this guy said to my son and myself come. He took us down the passage to my son's room, into the spare bedroom. In both rooms, there was nothing he wanted."
She got an opportunity to press the panic button in the house, and as soon as the intruder heard the alarm, he panicked.
"He ran. Obviously, there was someone waiting for him outside. They left with Johnny's pickup. He [Johnny] had been shot at very close range. The gun must have been almost next to his head. The bullet entered his head, just above his right eye and it came out on the left side of his neck. It's obviously a miracle that he survived..."
Willem Stafleu narrated how he lost his wife Venessa, in 2012, during a gruesome attack on his farm. His two young children witnessed their mother's murder.
He said it was a normal day on the farm and they went to another farm, later his wife took the kids and went home at about 6.30pm. He said he tried to call her when he was finished working and she did not answer.
"As I was driving towards our house, I saw her bakkie making a u-turn, going into the tarred road," Stafleu said.
After taking his two children to safety, at around 8pm, Stafleu said he went to their house and discovered his wife's body.
"I went into the house and when I looked down the hallway I could see my wife. I could only see the backside because the first shot, they shot her in the neck. I think she must have died immediately. While lying on her knees against the doorframe, they shot her just above the ear. I tried doing CPR on her but obviously it couldn't work," said Stafleu.
The alleged kingpin in the Stafleu attack was their employee who has purportedly fled.
The panel discussion on Monday was held as representatives of AfriForum are currently in Australia as part of the organisation’s "international campaign" to draw attention to farm murders in South Africa.