Delmas – An Mpumalanga man says it “must have been my lucky day”, after two attackers each pulled a trigger aiming to shoot him during a robbery on Tuesday night, but neither weapon fired.
The attackers also repeatedly doused him with boiling water – even pouring it into his ears – and also choked him.
Eight armed robbers held up Wynand Pretorius, 55, and his family for two hours in their home on a smallholding in Katboschfontein, near Delmas.
With him were his wife, Lydia, 52, two of his children, Annette, 27, and Gerhard, 30, his mother-in-law Doris Engelbrecht, 72, and Julian Pringle, a friend of Annette.
“They were waiting for me. First the one pulled his gun’s trigger, then the other one did the same. I’m not really sure how I felt at the time, I suppose it was just my lucky day,” said Pretorius from the N17 hospital in Springs.
Beating, boiling water
“They were beating me, so I pretended to be unconscious. I was still lying like that when they started pouring boiling water all over me. It was extremely painful. They also poured boiling water over my wife.”
Pretorius sustained burn wounds to his head, neck, back and chest, and had surgery on Wednesday afternoon. His wife is also in the hospital with various injuries, including a broken nose and cheekbones.
The other people only sustained light injuries, and did not require hospitalisation.
Engelbrecht says she was watching Egoli in her flat (which is attached to the house) when she heard screaming.
“Annette came in with one of the attackers. He grabbed me by the neck and choked me. He used his gun to push me into the dining room and kept shouting: ‘Sleep!’ I’ll never forget his face,” she said.
“I didn’t want to look up. I was too scared they might shoot my daughter (Lydia). They tortured her terribly. They beat her with steel clippers. She pleaded with them not to hurt her.
“My parrot kept calling ‘Ma, Ma’. I was so scared they would kill the bird too, but they didn’t.”
The robbers took two bakkies, seven cellphones, three laptops, three televisions, alcohol and money.
After about two hours they placed their loot in the bakkies and left. Annette then called the police over a CB radio.
One of the bakkies was found about 200m from the smallholding.
The police are investigating a case of armed robbery, but might later add a charge of attempted murder, said police spokesperson Abie Khoabane.