Eddie Freese, a farm manager and co-owner of a farm in the Dalton area, recalled lying under a blanket on his lounge floor as the balaclava-clad robbers rampaged through his home on Tuesday, looking for cash and guns.
Freese, who survived a horrific attack on the same farm 20 years ago, leaving him hospitalised for 15 weeks, said the attack would not force him out of his home.
“I am not physically injured except for a bruised nose, but it has certainly come with some mental strain. I will just have to carry on as normal. I don’t really have any other option. I have been here for 21 years,” he said.
The robbers, believed to be in their 20s, stole two cellphones, a wallet and Freese’s 2012 Ford Bantam bakkie, leaving behind electronics such as his music system and television. “They seemed more concerned about money than guns, and I don’t keep a firearm. They kept on asking where I kept the cash.”
Freese also believes it was a random attack and not an “inside job”
“They tied up my ankles and hands, and then my hands to my knees. I was just returning from work and while waiting for the electric gate to open, they appeared out of the sugarcane, pulled me out and hit me in the face with a brick.
“I was then put in the back of the bakkie, which they drove to the house. They dragged me into the lounge, tied me up and threw a blanket over me. At one stage they said they wouldn’t kill me; they just wanted money.”
Moments after the assailants left, Freese set about untying himself before rushing off to the farm security office to report the incident. “My neighbours and the SAPS were great. The police processed the scene and found what they believed to be good sets of [finger] prints. I have faith that the police will make progress in the matter.”
Freese is part of the closely knit German community spread through the Dalton/Wartburg area, many of them second- or third-generation, who farm cane and timber.
Dalton Farmers Association chairperson Dieter Schulz said they seldom experienced farm robberies, recalling the last in the area to be about four years ago.
“We have a private security firm that patrols the farms and we meet with the Dalton SAPS, who we share a good relationship with, every week.