Charles Cilliers
2 minute read
22 May 2017
7:35 am

Stellenbosch estate robbery: ‘Petrol was thrown on the staff’

Charles Cilliers

Please note The Citizen was contacted on Monday by Malcolm Ormond, who admitted that he had in fact fabricated the details about petrol being thrown on staff members at the Delaire Graff estate, and he did this to create sensation.

A promotional image for the Delaire Graff Estate.

Ormond wrote to us on Facebook, saying: “Attached is a report by the Citizen of my personal views regarding the robbery at De Graf estate…I fabricated the details and do not have a daughter or any family or friends that works there.The factual report is the news 24 report..the rest I made up to create sensation and to hilite the high crime rate in this country…Please retract my personal views from your report [sic all].”

Below is the report as it was originally published on Monday morning. Please note that the details around it based on Ormond’s post are therefore unreliable.

In the wake of the news of an armed robbery that hit the luxury Delaire Graff venue outside Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands on Sunday morning, it has emerged that robbers allegedly threatened to burn the staff alive after dousing them with petrol.

Tour operator Rehad Rahim tweeted on Sunday afternoon that he could not even enter the premises due to a heavy police presence, which he believed to be after the estate’s jewellery store was robbed.

However, News24 spoke to the estate’s general manager, Johann Laubser, who told them the robbery was mostly “unsuccessful” due to the estate having robust security.

A source told The Citizen that a vehicle used in the robbery, allegedly a white Mercedes-Benz, had plates that were falsified and the vehicle was abandoned in Paarl.

Paarl resident Malcolm Ormond took to Facebook following the incident to share that his daughter had been working as an employee at Delaire Graff when the attack occurred.

He alleged that petrol was thrown over the staff members, and they were threatened and then robbed. It is still not known if anyone was hurt (update: these details are now discredited by the source).

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The estate, which offers lodges and a spa, is billed as “a world-leading destination for wine, art  and hospitality in an unrivalled setting”. It is also a top art destination in the Stellenbosch Valley.

“Each piece of art that adorns the walls and gardens has been personally handpicked by owner Laurence Graff from a much-treasured personal collection. Gaze upon works by renowned local artists such as Anton and Lionel Smit, Deborah Bell, Dylan Lewis, Cecil Skotnes, Kendell Geers, Ndikhumbule Ngqinambi and William Kentridge.”

At this stage it is still not known if any of these highly prized and valuable artworks were stolen in the robbery.

Police are still investigating.

The estate was due to reopen on Monday, according to Laubser.