Hester vd Berg, 80, beaten to death, PE plot

Hester van der Berg, 80, beaten to death, Theescombe smallholding PE

May 3 2011 – The Port Elizabeth Herald reports on May 3 2011 that 70-year-old Mrs Hester van der Berg was beaten to death on her smallholding. She was left in her garage after the attack. The smallholding is located in the Theescombe smallholding enclave next to the railway tracks.

The Herald wrote:  ” Hester van der Berg’s husband and her son found her badly battered body in the garage twenty minutes after they arrived from work at 3pm. She had wounds on the back of her head and left eye as well as bruises on all of her ribs. We do not suspect rape”.  http://www.farmitracker.com/reports/read/1221

Newspaper source reference: facebook page “Traffic fines, cameras & updates in Port Elizabeth” http://www.facebook.com/TrafficPE?ref=ts


Fanie Smit finds hideout of Melodie farm-attackers
Monday 2 May 2011 By Cynthia Dreyer A Melodie plot owner found that criminals had climbed over the wall surrounding his property which is on the mountainous side of Melodie, before burgling his home.Mr Fanie Smit told MadibengPulse this morning that his wife reacted to the alarm which went off at 06:30 on Thursday morning after a window was broken and an iPod stolen. “They then took a playground ladder we had in the garden and used it to climb over the wall again to exit the property.” he said.

Mr Smit says his son Willem went searching from the Silkaatsnek side and discovered a hideout where thieves meet, make fires and even camp out. Mr Harro Rust of Plotwach added: “It was difficult to see how many criminals are using the hideout because there were various clothing items hanging on the bushes. An ID dating from 2000 was found on the scene which means that at least one youngster is being used in the group’s criminal activities. They often use youngsters to climb into small windows. A prescription from a clinic was also found which could be a valuable lead,” Rust said.  He also says that it appears that there is a gang working the area because several incidents have taken place in the same area during the past week. A night watch was pelted with stones the next night at the property next door to the Smit property at Villa Paradiso and when the Plotwatch patrols went to investigate, an alarm went off at the adjacent property at 02:30. There a 25 metre cable was discovered with a jacket and a bolt cutter. “Plotwatch wants to warn residents to take extra care as the gang is active on the plots. Phone us if you see anything suspicious,” he advised.Thieves even rip out stove of abandoned house . Rietfontein has been quiet over the past week, says Harro Rust but in Syferfontein a fence was discovered the next day to have been cut after dogs barked the previous night. In addition properties should not be abandoned without a guard being put in place. “A property in Syferfontein which was to have been developed but where there was a notice of a sale in execution was left unattended The tenants at the house on the property left, so there was no one there” he said. “The stove was ripped out, its copper cables removed, all other cables were stolen, also the wall plugs and even branches from the trees on the property!”
Plotwatch: 082 775 6466



Mike Johnson, 78,  April 7 2011 unlawfully arrested Vorna Valley Midrand

Unlawful arrest:  Case No. CAS 225 / 04 / 2011
Mike Johnson, 78, writes on http://www.eblockwatch.co.za

re: The Carte Blanche programme on Sunday evening May 1 2011, during which Mr. Watts asked anyone who was unlawfully arrested, to bring it to the attention of Carte Blanche.–                               

Eighteen years ago my wife and I decided to play our part in combating crime by creating employment for disadvantaged people. Undoubtedly any unemployed person with dependents to feed will inevitably turn to crime, rather than see them die a slow agonizing death due to starvation. We therefore created a cost effective advertising agency: In-Touch Mailing. Not only to provide an income for those we employ directly, but also for the budding entrepreneur wanting to establish his own business. However, our efforts are often misjudged and thwarted by those that are comfortably employed.                                                                                           
Two weeks ago, on the morning of Thursday 7 April 2011, I was apprehended at gunpoint on a public road in Vorna Valley by two Police Officers. When I asked the reason for my apprehension, I was told it was a ‘routine Police search for illegal drugs.’
I, together with my four co-workers, were ‘frisked’ and the vehicle searched. Although nothing illegal was found, my vehicle keys and digital camera were confiscated. I was informed that I was under arrest, ordered into the Police van and transported to the Midrand Police Station; followed by co-workers in my vehicle, driven by the other police officer.
After conferring with the Station Commander, Colonel Steven Moodley and receiving his consent. I was taken to the holding cells and charged with: ‘Police Interference While on Duty and Resisting Arrest’. I was advised of my constitutional rights in terms of: Section 35 of Act No. 108 of 1996. I was ordered to empty my pockets and remove my belt and shoe laces, (allegedly to prevent me from committing suicide).

I was then approached by a detective wanting to take a statement and take my fingerprints. I advised him that I wished to exercise my right to remain silent and to be informed at my first court appearance of the reason for my arrest, whereupon he immediately left the room. Fortunately, during the time I was being ‘processed’, I managed to make a quick cell phone call to my wife before it was confiscated. I advised her of my predicament and requested her to visit Colonel Moodley at the police station ASAP.
My wife Margaret, arrived at the police station, accompanied by our 8 year old granddaughter, and enquired as to the reason for my detention. She was told that I was being ‘uncooperative in that I refused to have my fingerprints taken or to signing the charge sheet’. She then came up to the holding cells to confer with me. Both Margaret and the granddaughter, were deeply distressed and traumatized to see me behind bars. They pleaded with me to sign the documents so that I could return home.
However, we were then told we would also have to pay R500 bail. Neither of us had this amount available and Margaret returned home to borrow the amount from our eldest son. By the time she returned, it was late evening and the night shift had taken over at the police station.

My finger prints were taken and I was presented with a lengthy statement to sign, which I did not read, and as I was signing it under duress, I added the word ‘without prejudice’ below each signature. I was released shortly thereafter, having spent approximately eleven hours in detention.

Friday 8 April I presented myself to the Midrand Magistrate’s Court as instructed.  I reported to the Public Prosecutors’ office with the Charge Sheet in hand to confirm my presence and to establish in which court my case would be held. The Public Prosecutor to whom I handed the document was highly amused when he saw the charges brought against me, and wanted to know what I did, at the age of 77 (correction 78 years of age) did in order to resist arrest: I said: “particularly when I was outnumbered two to one, and one of the officers was carrying a very serious looking automatic combat weapon and I was totally unarmed!”

I was told that the dockets from the police station hadn’t arrived and that I should take a seat in the reception area. Within 20 minutes the public prosecutor came to me in the reception area and told me that the charges against me had been withdrawn and that I was free to go. I asked him please to confirm this in writing on the charge sheet, to avoid any future repercussions which might occur; this he did.

I revisited the public prosecutor on the following Monday morning in an attempt to have the case reinstated.  Although this sounded like an odd request, I felt I had been deprived of the opportunity of challenging the charges brought against me. After spending a whole day in jail, I felt I had earned the right to a free and fair trial and also the opportunity to expose corruption in the police force. However this request was denied, the decision was made and could not be reversed.


It seems to me that police use bully tactics to extract a confession from a suspect, and the 48 hour detention period to extract ‘bail’. If, however, the suspect shows his willingness to contest the action in court and there’s any possibility of exposing corruption, the police will simply withdraw all charges. Leaving the accused and his family extremely traumatized and usually out of pocket.
Foot Note: ‘Condemnation without investigation is the height of ignorance’.
Many thanks and kind regards, Mike Johnson.

About Adriana Stuijt
Retired South African-Dutch journalist formerly Sunday Times Johannesburg

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