Kimberley - A charge of murder will be added to the list of charges that three men are facing following the death Tuesday of prominent local businessman Piet Els, who was brutally attacked on his farm near Kimberley earlier this year.
Els, 87, died in Mediclinic Gariep in Kimberley during the early hours of on Tuesday morning, after being in the intensive care unit for 111 days following the attack.
According to his partner, who was also viciously assaulted during the incident on January 23, Els died at around 0.20am on Tuesday.
“I was with him during his last moments. He was attached to a ventilator and could not talk. He has been in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ever since he was admitted to hospital.
“I went to visit him every day since he was admitted. His condition fluctuated as he could not eat some days. We always prayed that he would recuperate but the last two weeks we noticed that things were going downhill,” she said.
She added that Els had died peacefully.
“Things were not looking good for the past two weeks. One could see from the monitors that he was struggling to breathe. He, however, opened his eyes on Sunday and was fully aware of his surroundings and those around him. He was very peaceful during his last moments. He looked like he was sleeping,” she said.
Els’s partner said that she will forever cherish the time they had shared together and would remember his kind heart.
“He had a big and generous heart. He did a lot for many people but never published any of it in the newspapers. He was a giver and generous but never did it for the publicity. He gave because he wanted to give. I will always respect and honour him for that.”
She added that she was recuperating well following the attack. “I am doing well. His death is just heartbreaking,” she sighed.
Mediclinic spokesperson, Denise Coetzee, said that Els had been in ICU since he was admitted on January 24.
“Els was admitted on January 24 with several injuries, which included a head injury. He was brave and so determined to get well. We nursed him as well as we could. In the end, his advanced age and the seriousness of his injuries were just too much. Els was hospitalised for 111 days,” said Coetzee.
Els and his partner were viciously attacked and tortured by four men who forced their way into the bedroom of Els’ farmhouse on Schmidtsdrift Road, just outside Kimberley.
The suspects fled the scene in Els’s white Mercedes-Benz after allegedly stealing firearms, jewellery, cash and cellphones. The car was later found abandoned next to the R31 road to Barkly West.
Three suspects - Morapedi Rankali, Motlalentwe Qhautse and Thuso Ramolo - were arrested and charged with housebreaking, robbery and rape following the incident.
A diamond ring, valued at R1.5 million, stolen during the attack, was found on one of the suspects linked to the incident.
Police spokesperson, Captain Sergio Kock, confirmed on Tuesday that a charge of murder would be added to the docket during the accused’s court appearance today.
“The police will be adding a charge of murder following the death of Piet Els. Els died at the Mediclinic Gariep in Kimberley, since the house robbery incident on January 23, 2018. Three male suspects have been arrested and are due to appear in the Kimberley Magistrate’s Court on May 16 (today).
“One 19-year-old female suspect was also arrested and charged with the possession of suspected stolen goods. She appeared before court last week and was also remanded in custody. The investigation continues,” said Kock.