Ida community assist in arrest of suspected killers

Retired Ida High School principal Ruben Gouws (65) and his mother, Hermien (88), were found brutally murdered on Pinevale Farm near Elliot in the Eastern Cape on Saturday, 15 August.

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It is alleged that three assailants stabbed Ruben outside his house that afternoon before forcing him to open a safe in the house where his mother had been tied up.

The attackers strangled Hermien with a scarf she was wearing and stabbed Ruben multiple times before also strangling him to death and fleeing the scene with an undisclosed amount of money and firearms.

The bodies were discovered by members of the Ida community who were attending a soccer match roughly 2 km from the farm. Some of the people at the soccer match chased and caught one of the suspects after they noticed he was covered in blood and carrying a firearm. The suspect was handed over to the SAPS, who were then led to the nearby town Cala, where the other two suspects were arrested and an undisclosed amount of money and firearms recovered.

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While in custody the suspects directed police officers to Pinevale Farm where the gruesome scene was discovered.

A provincial police report praised the Ida community members for their assistance in the arrests and highlighted the incident as a “very good example of how the police and community must work together in the fight against crime.”

While neighbouring farmers applauded the Ida police for their role in the swift capture of the three, they also expressed concern that it was not enough to prevent crimes of this nature taking place in future.

“[The SAPS] really did a good job but it seems like there is no end to these attacks even though the culprits are being arrested,” said Mike Fitzhenry who has a Charolais stud in the area.

Adding to the tragedy of the incident is that Ruben’s brother, Chris, survived an attack in Ugie in which his wife Linie was murdered – and has now lost a mother, a brother and a wife to violent crime in just three years.

The three accused – Lusindo Mbekeni (19), Sipho Zweni (22) and Siphosethu Matoni (24) – appeared in the Dordrecht Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 18 August and the case was postponed until 2 September.