3 Fences can’t keep Armed Robbers out – Rietvlei Nature Reserve

17 April 2014 – “Forgive me, Lord, “ a robber said before he tied up a woman from Benoni at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Pretoria. Patricia Schoeman (23) was almost raped, but her sleeping bag prevented this. She and her fiancé, Andre Minnaar (23), said four robbers tortured them and two friends for an hour.

One of the robbers shot at the couple with his 9mm pistol inside the tent.

“We thought we were safe at the Rietvlei Nature Reserve. There are three fences of which one is electrified. Security guards are supposed to patrol, but there was no one to help us, “said Minnaar.
Schoeman and Minnaar’s two friends slept in a tent next to their tent.

Minnaar woke up about 01:30 when the zipper of his tent were opened. Two men with torches attached to their heads, entered the tent. Minnaar moved in front of Patricia and started to wrestle with the men. Two other robbers also entered the tent.

The four started to attack Minnaar. One of the robbers pulled a 9mm pistol and fired two shots after Minnaar managed to pull off his balaclava. Fortunately, nobody was injured. The robbers tied the couple up with Minnaar’s shoelaces before moving to the other tent and also tied Juanita Muller (23) and JP Wessels (22) up.

Minnaar pleaded with the robbers not to hurt his fiancé. The one robber said he was going to rape his girlfriend. Schoeman told Beeld that she felt dirty when the robber touched her when trying to remove her clothes.

At one point, one of the robbers pressed his pistol in a pillow. Schoeman and Minnaar thought they were going to be killed. “It was the longest hour of my life.” said Schoeman.

When one of the robbers threw Schoeman on the ground, she took a pair of scissors and put it under a mattress. She later used it to cut the laces around her wrists.

The robbers took food, clothes, money and mobile phones.

Minnaar said the robbers tried to flee with his Kia Picanto, but none of them could manage. The car was later found in a marsh near the camping site.

Captain Colette Weilbach said police were investigating a case of armed robbery .

The management of the Rietvlei Nature Reserve declined to comment.

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