Caught in the crosshairs
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing,” Edmund Burke.
Rustenburg – Henry Holsthyzen, his fiancé Corné Labuschagne and their two dogs Arrow and Patschinka, was on their way to the shops to buy a few necessities on Friday 15 May when they received a distressing call. They were unarmed at the time – simply on their way to do some shopping.
The person on the other side of the line requested help regarding a group of men who were attempting to occupy an empty house that belonged to one of the local mines… An ugly scene followed (not suitable for sensitive viewers).
Holsthyzen and Labuschagne, who are also the owners of HenCor K9 Security rushed to the scene in Suikerbos Avenue to assist. They are actively involved with tracking and recovering stolen vehicles in the North West and Patschinka and Arrow both play a pivotal role when their owners must go out and recover the vehicles.
Arrow is also trained in the disciplines of an anti-poaching dog: obedience, tracking, protection and detection. Arrow even holds a Guinness World Record as the first dog to tandem-skydive as part of an effort to apprehend poachers by way of a parachute jump.
“We knew we had to assist, we can’t just stand by and watch people do these things illegally. We are trained to handle dangerous situations and we had our dogs with us,” said Holsthyzen.
Upon their arrival at roughly 12h00, they discovered five vehicles and a few men trying to illegally enter the vacant premises. They immediately phoned the police and requested the people to leave at once. The police assured them that they were on their way, with backup.
“We have valuable experience in calming a crowd and tried to do just that. They left but threatened to come back for us. Our intention was to keep them out while we wait for the police to arrive,” he added.
After a while, three taxis, seven cars and a bakkie arrived filled with people. Holsthyzen took his stand in front of the gate with Arrow while Labuschagne was standing on the driver side of their vehicle – cornered.
The aggressors started hitting him with a shovel and a ladder and threw him with bricks. His training kicked in and he defended himself without attacking. They assaulted him with a bolt-cutter and crowbar.
“My first thought was to make sure Labuschagne was safe as she and Patschinka was standing right in the middle of our car and the threating suspects. I called her to come to me, but she managed to get herself and Patschinka back into the car,” Holsthyzen said.
The suspects tried to pull Labuschagne out of the car and damaged the keys in the process. Once Holsthyzen saw Corné and her dog was safely in the car, he retreated.
“At that stage, a tactical retreat was the best option. I was unarmed and outnumbered by far. It would have been unwise for me to take them on by myself… and then Corné and our beloved dogs could have been hurt – or worse,” he told Platinum Weekly.
Even after he agreed to leave the scene, they still continued to attack him and Arrow as he was trying to get to the car. He was again thrown with bricks and assaulted with a bolt-cutter and a crowbar before jumping into his vehicle. Luckily, the keys were still intact enough to start the car, giving them a chance to get a way. Arrow suffered a very hard blow to his hip after he was hit with a crowbar.
“Once we managed to get away, we rushed to the nearest vet to make sure Arrow was fine because there was just blood everywhere.” Arrow sustained an open wound and walks with a limp, but he should be back to normal in no time.
Police arrived in their masses. Around 50 policemen and even the South African Defence Force came to assist. Holsthyzen applauded the police for coming to their aid: “Things happened so fast, but the police were extremely helpful and willing to assist. Getting that many officers together in that timeframe really is commendable. I am very thankful for their assistance.”
Police spokesperson captain Elsabé Augoustides confirmed that Holsthyzen reported the matter to the police and a case of assault with the intent to cause grievous bodily harm is being investigated.
WA Wessels Attorneys who are representing one of the local mines, said that they are busy addressing the matter of people illegally occupying the company's houses.
The Rustenburg Cluster Commander was contacted and said several individuals will be pursued, arrested and charged. It is a very sad state of affairs and we feel very sorry for the gentleman assaulted in this video.
Contrary to what has been stated, the mines do care. Properties have been sold, have been leased out and many individuals have been affected by this illegal activity.
The mines are following the processes available to them and will not let this slide.
WA Wessels Attorneys, press release extracts, 19 May 2020
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