Updated 17 July 2014

Engelbrecht at increased risk due to disabilities.

Members of the South African Disability Alliance are concerned about the future of the boy who allegedly survived a brutal farm attack, but developed multiple disabilities.


Members of the South African Disability Alliance are concerned about the future of the boy who allegedly survived a brutal farm attack, but developed multiple disabilities.

Epilepsy South Africa, the National Council for People with Physical Disabilities (NCPPDSA) and the South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) are shocked and saddened by the report of the alleged brutal attack on a young boy, Flippie Engelbrecht aged 15 (now 19), on the farm in Robertson where his parents used to work. In a reported wage dispute between Flippie’s father and farm management, it is reported that farm management attacked both Flippie and his father.

During the alleged attack in 2008, Flippie sustained damage to his face and head which resulted in an emergency operation to reduce swelling on his brain. Although the operation was successful in reducing the swelling and the risk of further injury, it left him blind in both eyes and he subsequently developed epilepsy. During a later seizure he fell into the family’s cooking fire and suffered such severe burns that both his hands had to be amputated.

After an original, unsuccessful attempt to claim damages from the farm management, Flippie and his parents are once again trying to find justice through the judicial system. It is reported that the case will go to court within the next few days.

Epilepsy SA, NCPPDSA and the SANCB, all members of the South African Disability Alliance (SADA) agree that a collaborative message should be sent to the South Africa public to create awareness about the vulnerability of farm workers, especially those with disabilities. The disability sector renders services to all persons with disabilities, but also has a strong focus on the prevention of disabilities. A lack of information and knowledge on disability and its relation to physical violence in rural communities dramatically increases the risk of disability as can be seen in the case of Flippie who is today blind, has epilepsy and a physical disability.

Living in an isolated farming community increases Flippie’s vulnerability and directly influences his future opportunities for independence, employment and providing for a future family. Supportive services are needed in such cases and the members of SADA offer counselling to him and his family, as well as training sessions on human rights and disability awareness for the broader community.

“We believe that the Human Rights of all South Africans should be protected and promoted and that we have a duty to people in rural and farming communities by offering services, support and educational opportunities so that persons with disabilities in rural communities can claim their rights to social justice.”

The members continue to follow the legal proceedings and trust that truth and justice will prevail, but also that Flippie and his family will receive all the support they may need. To contact any of the above members of SADA, please phone Epilepsy SA at 021 595 4900, NCPPDSA at 011 452 2774 and the SANCB at 012 452 3811.

Issued By:                    Tomcat Advertising Agency (Pty) Ltd.

On Behalf of:               Epilepsy South Africa

Contact:                      Karin Gastrow

Tel:                               0861 866 228

Email:                           Karin@tomcat.co.za  

Website:                       www.tomcat.co.za  

Press release


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