Suicide of Cape wine farmer unconfirmed

rietvalleiReports that one of the men accused of assaulting Flippie Engelbrecht had committed suicide could not be immediately confirmed on Tuesday.

Johnny Burger, owner of Rietvallei Wine Estate, appeared in court last month for allegedly assaulting farmworkers Flippie and his father Flip in 2008.

He and co-accused Willem Treurnicht were to have appeared in the Ashton Regional Court next week on two charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.

According to the Rapport website, Burger shot and killed himself at his farm on Tuesday morning.

Western Cape police would only confirm that an inquest docket was opened following the death of a 62-year-old man at his Ashton farm around 08:30 on Tuesday.

“Circumstances indicate that the person was responsible for his own death. However, the matter will be investigated,” police spokesperson Andre Traut said.

He said the man’s identity would not be released at this stage.

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) in the province said it had not been informed of any related death.

“We are, therefore, not in a position to comment directly or indirectly on the alleged passing of the accused,” provincial NPA spokesperson Eric Ntabazalila said.

Flippie, 20, was left blind and started having epileptic seizures after the attack.

During one of his seizures, he fell into a fire and had to have his hands amputated.

His legal advisor Carina Papenfus said he was recently fitted with prosthetic hands.

She said the criminal matter was set to resume next Friday. – Sapa