Eight arrested in intelligence operation after farm attack

Piet and Tilla van Zyl were killed in their home.

MBOMBELA – A massive intelligence-driven manhunt in the Lowveld’s rural areas led to the capture of eight alleged killers yesterday morning.

It is believed that they were behind the brutal farm murder of Piet and Tilla van Zyl, that shook South Africa to its core. They lived on the Kalkpoort game farm in the Zebediela area where their bodies were discovered in their bedroom on the morning of August 20.

Piet was shot seven times with a nine-millimetre Parabellum pistol. Tilla was shot once. “The way that they shot Piet was pure torture,” said Bossie’s Community Justice’s Albert Gryvenstein.

Private crime-fighting organisations reacted by collecting intelligence. A R100 000 reward was offered for information that would lead to an arrest and conviction. According to a source close to the investigation, information surfaced suggesting that members of an organised-crime syndicate were behind the attack.

“An informant came forward with crucial information that led us to our first suspect,” said Gryvenstein.

The group consisted of private sector crime-fighters and BCJ. They divided into 14 vehicles. A police official was allocated to each vehicle.

They travelled towards a house close to Hazyview that was identified as belonging to one of the killers. “We spotted a vehicle leaving the premises. The driver of the vehicle was stopped and his house searched,” said Gryvenstein.

According to him, a large amount of cash was found in the home as well as items reported stolen in the Zebediela attack.
Information provided by the suspect led to the arrest of another suspect at a nearby house.

Gryvenstein explained that many of the suspects provided information that led to further suspects. In total, eight men were arrested between 02:00 and 06:00.

“Six of them have been connected to rhino poaching. Among the items found in their possession were two knives with a suspicious substance on it that will be tested for rhino DNA.”

“Thanks go to the Heritage Protect Group (HPG) – a crime combatting body in Limpopo – for involving BCJ. We also thank Eben Blom, André Barnard, Netstar, Vlam Els, Pieter Jansen van Rensburg, Sgt Chico Nkosi and Const Hannes Blom for their contributions,” said Gryvenstein. He added that BCJ needs urgent financial assistance to continue paying informants.

At the time of going to press the suspects were still being transported to the police station and had not yet been charged.

Helene Eloff
Legal Adviser & Journalist

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