Loving couple

Photo: Supplied

Loving couple brutally attacked and killed with an axe in Sasolburg

The lifeless mutilated body of 62-year-old Annie Liebenberg was found in a storage room with her hands tied at their house in Sasolburg.

Loving couple

Photo: Supplied

A 62-year-old mother and her 64-year-old high school sweetheart were brutally attacked and killed with an axe in Sasolburg.


The lifeless mutilated body of Annie Liebenberg (62) was found in one of the outside rooms with her hands tied, while the body of her high school sweetheart, 64-year-old Michael Zantow was found later at another house.

It is believed Michael was overpowered by a worker and then taken to his deceased mother’s house not far from the house he shared with Liebenberg.

Outside Michael’s deceased mother’s house. Photo: Supplied

Yolanda Liebenberg, daughter of Annie, said they believed Michael was targeted first.

“We believe that Michael was first murdered, and then they came back for my mother.”

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Yolanda said they became worried on Sunday after their mother and Michael did not respond to any messages.

“We noticed that both of them were last on Whatsapp on Friday at around 13:30. We realised something was wrong as we could not get hold of either of them.”

Yolanda called her sister Maryke, who drove from Brakpan to the scene.

Maryke said they rushed to the house along with Michael’s children.

“They had to climb over at the back yard and then saw the door was open.”

She said no one was in the house, and only upon searching the entire premises the lifeless body of her mom was found in a room used for storage.

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“She was still tied up and had several open wounds caused by an axe and knife.”

Annie Lienberg and Michael Zantow Photo:Supplied

According to Annie’s other daughter, Maryke Liebenberg, it was clear that their mother had put up a fight.

“The police told us that it was clear from the scene that my mother, who is a very strong and independent woman, put up a fight.”

By this time, Michael and his vehicle were still missing.

According to police spokesperson Brigadier Motantsi Makhele, Michael and his motor vehicle, a white VW-Jetta, was not found on the premises.

“While the police and role players were investigating on Sunday night, they came across a motor vehicle fitting the description of the missing VW Jetta in Zamdela.

“They tried to stop the vehicle, but shooting between the suspects and the police ensued, forcing the suspects to evade arrest by running on foot.”

Makhele said on Monday morning, the search for Michael started, and tracing began.

“The police followed the information that led to the discovery of the body of Michael was found at an address in Lategan Street.”

According to Maryke, this was the house of Michael’s deceased mother.

Maryke said only a few items were missing from the house, including cash and a laptop.

“We believed it was their gardener and the domestic worker who is involved in their murder. Both of them were previously caught stealing, and they were fired. Earlier this month, we pleaded with my mother not to take the workers back as we had just found out that the workers at pleaded for food.”

Maryke said on the day of the murder the gardener was taken by Micheal to his deceased mother’s house.

“We believe Michael was overpowered by the gardener at his mother’s house. They killed him and then drove with his vehicle back to the house where they attacked and killed my mother.”

She said she would describe her mother as a survivor with a beautiful heart.

Maryke and her mother Annie Liebenberg Photo: Supplied

“My mother was an independent woman who was a single mother of my three siblings and me.”

Maryke said they had a tough life, and through all of that, they had their mom, who ensure that her children had everything they need despite the difficult circumstances.

“My mother was full of nonsense but and straight forward, funky and a person who loved music. A true inspiration for us.”

She said her mother was loved by many and she loved helping people.

“She was truly loved by many people, she help all those who came into her life.”

Maryke said they were so happy when their mother and Michael paths crossed.

“They were high school sweethearts who lost contact, life happened, and then after all these years, they ran into each other. They were immediately smitten with each other. So in love.”

She said her mother moved to Sasolburg this year to be with Michael.

Police said the two arrested men, aged between 28 and 35, were arrested after a diligent investigation by a team of committed members of Sasolburg SAPS.

They will appear at Sasolburg Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 25 August 2021.