THE family of Alexandria farmer Riaan Scheepers shared word this evening that Scheepers had died after a weeks-long battle to stay alive following a savage beating he received from robbers at the farm he managed late last month.
A message from his daughter Bianca Scheepers, shared on WhatsApp, states: “Pappa het vanmiddag ongeveer 17h na ‘n beter plek gegaan… Sy een long het gesukkel om lug te kry en genoeg suurstof in die bloed te laat. Sy hart was te swak om verder te werk. Ons wil vir elkeen regtig dankie sê vir al die omgee, gebede en ondersteuning in die tyd. Ons waardeer dit.” [“Papa went to a better place this afternoon at about 5pm. One of his lungs struggled to get air and let enough oxygen into his blood. His heart was too weak to work anymore. We want to thank everyone for all your concern, prayers and support during this time. We value it.”]
Scheepers had been placed in a medical coma to allow the swelling on his brain to subside. He was severely beaten in the attack, sustaining two skull fractures and two facial fractures, as well as multiple stab wounds and lacerations.
According to SAPS, a farm worker accompanying Scheepers at the time had also been beaten, but was not badly injured. He managed to escape and fled to a neighbouring farm to call for help.
The robbers stole a .38 revolver and fled the scene in Scheepers’ white Isuzu bakkie. The vehicle was later found abandoned on the Grahamstown/Salem road near Kenton-on-Sea.
On December 1 a 24-year-old man was arrested in connection with the attack and several items of clothing, as well as Scheeper’s cell phone, was recovered. Siphamandla Petse, 24, has subsequently appeared in the Alexandria Magistrate’s Court.
In light of Scheeper’s death, the initial charge of house robbery is likely to be changed to murder at the discretion of the court.