Former Springbok rugby player Rudi ”Vleis” Visagie was arrested on Sunday after his daughter was allegedly mistaken for a car thief and shot dead, Mpumalanga police said on Monday.
Visagie and his wife Frieda were asleep at home at their plot in Maggiesdal, outside Nelspruit, when his wife woke up early on Sunday morning shouting that someone was trying to steal their daughter’s car, Captain Benjamin Bhembe said.
The car was moving out of the gate and Visagie allegedly took his firearm and shot at the car.
”They were so shocked to find out that it was their own daughter,” he said.
Nelspruit Medi-Clinic spokeswoman Robyn Freathy said that the paramedics brought Marlè in with a head wound, but she was dead on arrival.
According to The Citizen Marle was on her way to surprise her boyfriend for his birthday.
Meanwhile, relatives and friends have formed a protective ring around the family.
”Try, just try to imagine how they are feeling,” said family friend Susan Baird, saying that she did not want to say any more.
Baird however read from a short statement she had prepared.
”It is with regret and great sadness to confirm that Marle Visagie died yesterday [Sunday] morning in an unfortunate shooting accident. In darkness she was mistaken to be a car thief and was shot at by her father Rudi Visagie. She was admitted at 6am to the Nelspruit Medi Clinic and was declared dead on arrival.”
Asked on Visagie’s mental state and whether he was receiving counselling, Baird said: ”Everything is under control.”
Bhembe said that Visagie was released on R1 000 bail on Sunday and was expected to appear in the Nelspruit Regional Court on Monday.
He said that in terms of Section 49 of the Criminal Procedure Act it was only permissible to use a firearm when a life was threatened.
He said the Constitution determined that a life was more precious than property.
Bhembe added that following an arrest it is then determined what the circumstances of the shooting were and some discretion may be allowed. – Sapa