May 9, 2016 § Leave a comment
The community newspaper of Marius Scholtz (50), the Ermelo Highveld Tribune, made a humble beginning when it was launched in 2006, with 8 pages and with a very small staff – Marius, his wife Corne Scholtz and female friend Adele Smit.
The three worked very hard starting from then – generating stories and releasing a newspaper every Tuesday.
Advertisers, mainly from the Afrikaner economy, flocked to show the services and products offered by their various companies.
Then somewhere towards the end of January 2012, there were reports in the news of floods destroying homes in a town in Limpopo, called Hoedspruit.
So what happened next, Scholtz discussed the news of the floods with his friends, such as hunter Frik du Plooy.
He then announced to them that he also wanted to assist the flood-victims by walking from Ermelo to Hoedspruit – which is more than 360km and which was gona take him 18 days, according to the pledge he made, and at which point the people of South Africa, those who are sympathetic to the sufferers of the floods, would give money to him so that he would give to the victims. A fund-raising project, you know.
Then on 7 February, Scholtz in person created a Facebook page and called it ‘Walk for Flood Victims – Ermelo to Hoedspruit’and appointed Adele Smit as its administrator.
The following week, on the Monday morning of 13 February, Scholtz began his journey. He was pulling a trolley with him where he kept all his outdoor camping equipment.
As reported by Adele Smit on the page, he “walked from Ermelo to outside Chrissiesmeer on the Carolina road [less than 35km]”on Monday alone.
“There,” said Adele Smit, “he set up a camp and stayed the night. On Tuesday, he walked further, although he was tired and his body was sore. At about 10km to Carolina, he stopped and again camped. Between 21:00 and 22:00 he was busy cooking, when three men approached him to find out what he was doing there. They confronted him and his gun taken from him. One of the suspects shot at him in his right foot and calf and wounded his left hand. The suspects ran away without taking anything. He, his wife, Corne, called for help. The Chrissiesmeer police and Life Care Response Ambulance Service immediately responded and Marius will get help. He was taken to Ermelo Medi Clinic and Wednesday morning transferred early to the Highveld Medi- Clinic in Trichardt, where he will undergo surgery. Further information will be provided on a regular basis”, she wrote on the Facebook page.
Then Mpumalanga correspondent for the Beeld newspaper, Buks Viljoen, picked the story up from the page and ran it on the national daily under an Afrikaans heading: “Journalist Wounded While Trying To Raise Funds”!
In the Beeld story “Scholtz tried to reach for his 9mm pistol from his back” when the men “overwhelmed him and took the gun away from him”. They then shot him and left without taking anthing, the paper reported.
In the Boer-Nuus website, Scholtz “survived shooting by 3 black males” while he was trying to raise money for the victims of the floods “which destroyed so many homes”.
“He was making food where three unknown black males approached him, overhelmed him, took away his gun, and shot him in the right foot and lower leg and left hand,” the website said.
In the Beeld story, Viljoen doesn’t ask the police for comment, while in the Boer-Nuus story the “Chrissiesmeer police and Life Care Response Ambulance Service immediately responded”.
But according to the police in Carolina and Chrissiesmeer “an incident like this it is the first time we hear about it, it was never reported to us nor did we respond to the alleged scene, nor a case was opened with us,” Constable Dumile Malaza said.
A Medi-Clinic spokesperson in Trichadt confirmed to Magudvu that a patient by the name of ‘Marius Scholtz’ was admitted there on 14 February to undergo surgical operation for gun-shot wounds but he declined to comment whether the wounds resembled those of someone injured in an armed robbery. “We believe this will infringe upon the right of the patient,” he said, requesting the reporter to ask Scholtz whether “he was shot during a robbery or anything like that, we are not in a position to answer that”.
Another update followed from Adele Smit the next day after Scholtz was supposedly attacked: “Today goes well with Marius in the circumstances. He still in a lot of pain… He will again tomorrow go to theater so doctors can see why his wounds still bleed. They are waiting for the swelling in his hands to reduce before doctors will be able to determine the extent of the damage to his hand . Marius and his family thanked everyone for the support and prayers.”
Messages wishing Scholtz a speedy recovery soon followed. “You were doing something so selfless and amazing for others and now have had to go through this horrifc ordeal and not to benefit yourself; you are clearly an amazing man. Thinking of you and Thank you for being one of very special people”.
Another message, from a Corrie Van Rensburg, read: “So sorry you have been through such hell! What you were wanting to do was a truely inspiration. Get better soon! We here in Hoedspruit would still love to see you and welcome you to our wonderful town. Thank you for caring so much about your fellow man. Thinking or you!”
But according to a source privy to the affairs of Ermelo Afrikaners, soon after she reported the story on Facebook and soon after the Beeld picked the story up, Adele Smit realized that Scholtz had actually fabricated the story. She said the two fell out and Smit resigned from Scholtz’s newspaper.
“Some of those in those companies that sponsored him believed that he shot himself. They believe he was possibly playing with the gun on that night and the trigger pulled by mistake. The injuries are only in his left hand and right foot. It was one bullet that injuried both the hand and foot, so for robbers the injuries would have looked very different”, the Afrikaner male source said over the phone. “And it was clear to all of us that the story was a lie. We are not angry with him, we were just shocked at how dishonest he is”.
He decided to continue the journey with a quad-bike a month later. He said: “Thank you to all that I thought and prayed for me in the past month after the robbery and shooting. I’m back on track and ready for my next challenge – to about 300km I still had to walk to Hoedspruit with riding a quad bike . I’m not going back on the road tent for the night , but with the motorcycle ‘s help have enough time in the day to drive from town to town . The people in Hoedspruit still struggling”.
Asked whether after finding him busy cooking on the night of 13 February 2012 and attacking him, the ‘three black males’ then left without taking anything, Scholtz said “yes”. He said: “We struggled on the ground for the possession of the gun and in that moment the trigger was pulled by the men and I was injured in the hand and foot and they ran away”.
He told the Magudvu that he opened a case with Carolina police, not Chrissiesmeer police as reported by Boer-Nuus, but then he forgot the name of the investigating officer. “This thing happened four years ago, how am I supposed to remember his name?