A 78-year-old man and his elderly wife are in the intensive-care unit at a Krugersdorp hospital after almost being beaten to death by men who broke into their house.
Their mentally challenged daughter, who was also attacked, is also in the hospital.
Oulof De Waal is believed to have sustained a fractured skull, broken neck bones and a broken nose. Mariema, his wife, who is in her late 70s, suffered serious facial injuries during the attack, which took place just after 4.30pm on Thursday.
The incident was the second attack on old people in the street in Roodepoort in two months.
In the first incident, an 82-year-old woman was attacked by men who tore pages out of the Bible she was reading and stuffed them into her mouth to shut her up while they ransacked the house.
In Thursday’s incident, De Waal’s car was still in the driveway of the Scafell Road home with the key in the ignition. His bank cards were still in his wallet and his wife’s jewellery was scattered on the bed.
Neighbour Emile du Toit was the first on the scene.
“When I arrived at home, the neighbour, who lives between me and the De Waals, called to say that their daughter Amanda was with them and that the family had been attacked, so I ran over.”
Du Toit found both the front and stoep gates open. The couple were in the bedroom, totally disoriented.
Mariema was on the floor and her husband was staggering out of the bedroom.
“They did not know where they were, why I had come over or what had happened,” he explained.
He said they were very bloodied.
“Their faces look terrible. All three of them wear glasses, so it looks like as the men beat them, their lenses broke and cut their faces. Oulof’s head was swollen twice its usual size,” he said.
Du Toit said neighbours were still trying to piece together the puzzle of how the attack had unfolded.
One theory was that the men had followed Oulof onto the property, which is why his keys were still in the car.
Another is that they jumped over the wall and entered the house from the back.
“There was no blood at the front door, so they could have come in from the back – where there is a big pool of blood,” said Du Toit.
They assume Amanda was sitting in the garden reading a magazine when the men entered and attacked her first.
“The sitting room was very messy. The mats were ruffled. It showed that there was a struggle. There was lots of blood in the passage and in the bedroom,” said Du Toit.
The De Waals have lived in the area for more than 40 years.
Du Toit said De Waal was a very kind-hearted man who always picked up the litter on the field across their house, and fed all the beggars that came to his gate, asking for food.
Du Toit said crime was not too much of a problem in the area and tended to involve cases of petty theft.
But another neighbour, Johan van Jaarsveld, said his 82-year-old mother was too afraid to stay alone at their house since she was attacked two months ago.
“She was reading the Bible when the men broke in. They tore pages out of the Bible and stuffed it in her mouth to shut her up and then beat her. She passed out, then they ransacked the whole house, taking everything of value they could find,” said Van Jaarsveld.
He said the men had told his mother they were meter readers, so she had let them in.
“My mother has never been herself again and she is too scared to live here any more. She now lives with my sister,” said Van Jaarsveld.
He said his family and the De Waals have been neighbours for more than 40 years.
“There are only old people who live in this area. They are targeting them because they know they are soft targets,” he said.
On Thursday night, a nurse at the Netcare Krugersdorp Hospital, who did not want to be named, said the couple were in ICU and Amanda in a normal ward.
Police spokesman Constable Vincent Mashiteng said police were investigating. - The Star
> Source IOL News