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VIOLENT AMBUSH

Sars whistleblower Johann van Loggerenberg attacked and robbed while cycling

Sars whistleblower Johann van Loggerenberg attacked and robbed while cycling
Former Sars executive Johann van Loggerenberg says he is lucky to be alive after he was attacked while on his bicycle near the Rietvlei Nature Reserve on Saturday morning. (Photo: Facebook)

The ex-Sars executive has described how he feared death when he was battered with a brick, had a knife held to his throat and was dragged for roughly 200m into long grass. 

Former Sars executive and whistleblower Johann Van Loggerenberg has opened a case of armed robbery and assault with intent to cause great bodily injury at the Lyttelton police station after being ambushed while cycling in Gauteng.

On Saturday at about 11 am, Van Loggerenberg says he was attacked by unknown assailants along a stretch of road near the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Pretoria. It is a secure area, primarily agriculture and environmental reserve, and no such attack was anticipated.

He sustained injuries to his rib cage, hip, jaw, head, and back. His helmet was shattered during the attack, and he claims he was close to passing out.

Police have confirmed that they are investigating the matter. His attackers remain at large.

Van Loggerenberg posted about his ordeal in a Facebook post at the weekend.

Speaking to Daily Maverick on Monday, Van Loggerenberg described how he was battered with bricks, had a knife held against his throat, and was verbally abused.

The assailants made off with his Garmin watch, bracelet, wallet and phone.

Minutes before the incident, Van Loggerenberg stopped to answer a long-distance international call. He had just completed the call and had placed his phone back in his shirt when the attack occurred.

“As I looked up, the brick was just centimetres from my face, speeding towards my face, so I only saw one man first with a brick in his left hand and connecting with my face. I was wearing riding glasses, and the contact caused my glasses to collapse and fall off my face. I was completely disoriented.

“Then I noticed three more individuals approaching from behind me, and they began hurling bricks at my head. At first, there was some resistance from my side, so I tried to get off my bicycle, but in the process, I fell and caused my leg to become trapped between the bicycle and the ground, making me less mobile.”

Van Loggerenberg attempted to plead with his assailants, saying he would give them what they wanted. He alleged his assailants made a racial joke and accused him of trying to be clever.

Johann van Loggerenberg

Former Sars executive Johann van Loggerenberg pictured recovering in hospital. (Photo: Facebook)

His bike was then tossed to the other side of the road, and the attackers dragged him for around 200m off the road into tall grass in a veld. He said went into defensive mode.

“What was going through my head? I assumed they were going to kill me because I was out of sight and hauled far off the road. I would say those people who are important in my life and are dependent on me were people that flash through my mind,” he said.

He claimed that one assailant put his arm around his neck and held a knife to him. “All the while they were bashing against my head and kicking me.”

Another attacker took his phone and asked for his pin, and Van Loggerenberg explained that it used facial recognition. The phone was held to his face, but it didn’t operate, possibly due to the blood on his face.

He disclosed his bank details to the attackers, but the assailant who took the number kept writing it down incorrectly.

Van Loggerenberg’s legs and feet were tied but he managed to stand up as his attackers fled. He saw an upmarket White Ford Raptor double cab picking up his attackers. 

In a followup Facebook post over the weekend, Van Loggerenberg wrote:

“A reflection. I don’t wish to make a fuss of my ordeal of yesterday. The most striking thing is that the guys that robbed me, (4) were so absolutely brutally aggressive. And despite taking my bank cards PIN numbers, they drew no money. Nothing. If they made/make R4,000 of the entire matter, I’ll be surprised. And they’ll have to share that among 5 of them, including the getaway driver. My phone was an old model. They’re not produced anymore. The bracelet worthless (just sentimental), the watch won’t yield much second-hand. The bicycle is a hardtail, off-the-rack Avalanche. The add-ons cost me a bit, but second-hand they’re pretty much worthless. Their getaway car they used, that pitched after they had their way with me, is a very expensive Ford Raptor 4×4 bakkie. The whole thing was horrific. I really thought they were going to murder me. I don’t want to appear paranoid or dramatic because these types of crimes happen daily. They kept on hurting me, long after they took my phone and wallet and watch and the useless bracelet and my cheap bicycle. They just kept bashing me in my head and kicking me. They really wanted to hurt me. Starting price for those new Raptors are over R1000,000.00. Theirs had all the gadgets imaginable. Some crooks are really dumb. And cheapskates.”

Violence in society

Van Loggerenberg said he received medical treatment and would not live in fear, and planned to return to the road once he had recovered.

Adopting a forgiving tone, he said South Africa needed to have a discussion about what drives young males in this society to be so harsh. 

Is it out of rage or hopelessness, he asked, adding, “I think metaphorically speaking, for strong men to use bricks and a knife to subdue one man and force him to hand over his valuables screams of  helplessness, anger, and frustration.”

Van Loggerenberg stated that if he were to face his attackers in court, he would like to go through the entire experience with them. He would like to understand what made them choose violence instead of just taking his valuables.

“Once we figure out what sparks the violence in them, we can do a systematic understanding of why men are like that,” he says. 

Van Loggerenberg is known for providing crucial evidence on State Capture at Sars and has testified at the Zondo and Nugent commissions. He is also a complainant and State witness in numerous cases in front of the National Prosecuting Authority and Inspector-General of Intelligence.

He also wrote Rogue: The Inside Story of SARS’s Elite Crime-busting Unit with ex-Sars spokesperson Adrian Lackay. DM

Gallery

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Katharine Ambrose says:

    If his attackers had such a fancy getaway car it suggests this was a hit not just random racist brutality and petty theft. Hope van Loggerenberg is soon fully recovered and finds a safer cycle route.

  • Tim V says:

    Could it be that this was not just a random or spontaneous attack, but rather a targeted action with political motives. How else does one explain the Ford Raptor?

    • J dW says:

      There have been many attacks on cyclists in that area recently and they have really picked up in the last 6 months or so. Our cycling groups are recommending at least 6 riders to ride together. A sad state of affairs these attacks are crimes of opportunity and I do not believe this one had a political motive.

      • Bill Gild says:

        More than 80 murders a day, mayhem on the roads, political assassinations on a weekly basis, SOE’s collapsing, and an ANC/SACP that cannot govern.

        I am sorry for your experience, Mr Van Loggerenberg, but we are living in a failing state, and the prognosis is dire.

  • stimpelm says:

    Michael Stimpel I appreciate your moral bravery, Johann, and wish you a thorough physical and mental recovery. To me this attack as described by you seems to indicate an unmistakeably strong warning. and the stealing of your possessions rather seems to be a cover-up intended to point in the wrong direction. The disproportion of the brutal robbers and the costly get-away car makes one think of a king-pin and some of his pawns in the game. Were there more of such incidents in the vicinity before? Who knew about you cycling there at the time? Can one hope for intense police work on this case? Is one held to go cycling now under armed vigilance? As usual, more quesions than possibly answers.

  • Cheryl Siewierski says:

    I wish you a speedy return to physical and mental health Johann. I admire your approach to the attack, and hope that your attackers are apprehended so that you can get some answers. At the moment, while I am aware of the random and unnecessary acts of violence perpetrated in South Africa on a daily basis, I agree with some of the others here – this does not ‘feel’ like a random attack. Be safe.

  • Johnny Kessel says:

    “Once we figure out what sparks the violence in them, we can do a systematic understanding of why men are like that,” Seriously? This defines cultural relativism and self-hatred, as if it’s got to be something other people are doing to cause such wonderful people to behave so badly. The mind boggles.

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