Family shattered

What seemed like an idyllic love story took an ugly turn just after midnight on Saturday, when shots pierced the air of the plush Pioneers Park suburb, where Frans Gertze and his young wife Anittha had made a life together.

18 November 2019 | Crime

Namibia Qualifications Authority (NQA) CEO Frans Gertze, who is alleged to have pumped several bullets into the lower part of his young wife's body shortly after midnight on Saturday, is set to appear in the Windhoek Magistrate's Court this morning.

The nation has been left reeling after news filtered in on Saturday that the respected 55-year-old executive had been arrested for shooting his 29-year-old wife, with whom he has two young children. Their life looked idyllic on social media, where as recently as 31 October Anittha had described her husband as “our pride”. Loving embraces and photos with their young kids were a regular feature on both their timelines. Anittha, who is also a businesswoman in her own right, runs a successful events company, while Gertze also serves as a pastor, who often posts references to Bible verses and inspirational quotes on Facebook. Besides his job at the NQA, where he has led with distinction over many years, he is also an avid farmer, who often posts pictures of his livestock.

The couple met in 2014 and, after a whirlwind romance, married at the end of that year.

Despite messages emerging over the weekend that indicated Anittha had confided to some people that her marriage was over, there was no hint of the tragedy to come.

On 13 December 2016, on their second wedding anniversary, Anittha wrote on Facebook: “When I first met you two and a half years ago my dear husband, I fell in love so fast, I knew right then you were the one and only one for me; I'd never have to look for love again.

“Each day finds us happier; you are my light, my moon, my star, my sun. You show me what real love is all about, you fill my life with pleasure, joy and fun.





“As time goes by, our love grows stronger still. You're the most amazing man I ever knew. Thank you that our lives are devoted to God and we solve any problem through Him.”

She also referred to a house filled with “much laughter and joy”.

“God blessed us with two beautiful kids too, thank you for being such a great dad to all our kids. The place I want to be is close to you; there's so much love and peace in your embrace.

“I know that I can cope with what life brings, as long as I wake up in your arms. You're all I ever wanted, and much more. I look at you and I still get a thrill. Our marriage is the best thing in my life. I love you deeply, madly, and I always will.

These and other posts over the years have now resulted in Namibians from all walks of life questioning exactly what was happening behind closed doors in the couple's home.

After initial reports indicated that Anittha had been shot up to six times, it later emerged that she underwent surgery on Saturday. Bullets had been successfully removed from her body and she was not in any immediate danger.



Intruders

Police said the motive for the shooting, which was carried out with a 7.7mm rifle, is unknown, “but according to the suspect, he heard intruders walking into his house and he randomly opened fire in their common bedroom”.

The house was, however, not broken into and the victim was with him, a police report circulated on Saturday morning said.

The report also said Anittha was in a critical condition in the Roman Catholic Hospital, where the suspect allegedly transported her after the shooting incident.

The report also identified the suspect was CEO of the NQA.

“A suicide note believed to be written by the suspect was found in the house. The firearm used belongs to the suspect and it has been recovered in his house. Another pistol for the suspect was found in his car and was seized as well. Police investigations continue.”



Court appearance

Gertze is expected to make his first court appearance this morning.

There were claims over the weekend that he had threatened to shoot his wife on previous occasions.

Sources also claimed their kids were in the bedroom with them when the argument unfolded that culminated in the shooting.

After she was shot and then dragged through the passage, Anittha had then begged Gertze to take her to hospital, which he did.

He went to fetch the medical aid card [home] and was arrested at the hospital when he returned.

Police spokesperson Kauna Shikwambi said Anittha was out of danger and recovering in hospital.

Family spokesperson Gordon Schmidt said Anittha was recovering, further dispelling rumours that she was fighting for her life.

“Please note that Anittha Gertze is out of surgery and danger. She is stable. I ask and plead to all that we refrain from circulating information that she is no more and give space for the immediate family. Keep us in your prayers, as this is not easy for all,” he said.

A case of attempted murder and the negligent discharge of a firearm, read with domestic violence law, has been opened by police against Gertze.



OGONE TLHAGE

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