NATIONAL NEWS - No charges have been laid against late rugby legend Joost van der Westhuizen’s brother, Pieter, who shot and killed two suspected armed robbers at a church in Centurion on Sunday.
A group of armed men stormed the church when suddenly shots were fired and two suspected robbers were killed.
“It is only by the grace of God that no one from our ministry was hurt during yesterday’s attack,” Pastor Kobus Erasmus from the Querentia Ministers in Wierdapark told Rekord on Monday.
Erasmus described the incident as “traumatising”, explaining that the ministry was the “Querentia” (safe haven) of the community.
“It is disappointing that the community was attacked in their place of spiritual safety.
“We were singing the closing praise song, I need His love and Care, when suddenly the armed suspects entered the building and demanded valuables,” Erasmus said.
“The church started pleading the blood of Christ over us. A loaded revolver was held against my head when the shots started going off.”
Erasmus said looking back at the message of Sunday morning, referring to when David asked God who was he to deserve God’s protection, was especially “prophetic because from all the shots fired not one member of the church was injured”.
“A young man was grazed by a bullet in the chest, millimetres from his heart, but he too was protected,” Erasmus said.
“Five shots were fired in the direction of a woman congregant but not one hit her. It is a miracle.
“God really protected us, it could have turned out much differently.”
Erasmus said many have asked if he would carry on to minister to the congregation.
“Obviously I will build on Sunday’s incident, to continue to serve God.
“After Sunday, I received testimony after testimony. I have been serving for 30 years and I still stand in awe of how God protected us.”
Van der Westhuizen’s legal representative Ulrich Roux said no charges have been laid against his client.
Roux said he was in constant communication with the police.
“The case is still being investigated.”
He said as soon as a docket was available, Van der Westhuizen would make a statement to the police.
“Yesterday morning, three armed robbers entered a church and assaulted the pastor where my client was attending the service. My client was armed and out of self-defence shot and killed two of the robbers.”
Police spokesperson Brigadier Mathapelo Peters said: “Police can confirm that two suspects were fatally shot inside a church in Wierda Park, while a third escaped in a getaway car that was parked outside the church.
“Reports from the scene suggest that the three suspects stormed into the church during a service and were robbing congregants of their personal belongings at gunpoint. One of the congregants allegedly fired shots, fatally wounding two suspects while the third one ran outside.
“The pastor sustained minor injuries and was treated on site. No other injuries were reported.”
A firearm was recovered by police on the scene, she said.