Mr. Kobys Esterhuysen - an observer of the attempted assassination of South African Premier Dr.?
A. "Actually as he came up we were not alarmed because I recognized his face and various people around us recognized him so we were not unduly alarmed. But as he turned around into the box, into the entrance of the box just in front of him I saw him sort of jerking at his pocket and my suspicions were aroused and at that moment I saw the flash of a black gun coming just up. And at that moment I leapt to my feet.
Q. "And how far away from him were you when you leapt to your feet ?
A. "Well, as I said about four yards".
Q. "And did you catch him".
A. No. Well actually the best I could do, with him inside the box and me outside the barrier
Q. "That little picket fence? "
A. "The little picket fence was between us, the best I could do was to push him over. But I only got to him after he fired the first shot. As I moved down onto him the first shot went off. And at the same time a policeman a bit lower down heard me coming down and he also turned around and went for the man".
Q. "And did you both actually tackle him?"
A. "Well, more or less, I couldn't. I mean its awfully vague, you can't say precisely what happened, but as we pushed him down the second shot went off. And after the second shot we had him down on the ground from behind. We pushed him down, and the officials inside the box around Dr. Verwoerd grappled with him and the President, Col. Harrison, wrenched the gun from his hand and so on ".
EDITORS PLEASE REFER TO PROD. NOS. 2376/2414 and 2413
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: Mr. Kobys Esterhuysen - an observer of the attempted assassination of South African Premier Dr. Verwoerd, Apr 9 - was interviewed in Johannesburg, Apr 11, when he gave an eye-witness account of the scene at the Union Exposition from his position on the member's stand. Mr.Esterhuysen was asked to describe the approach of the assassin - 53-year-old David Pratt - as he approached the stand after Dr Verwoerd finished his speech.
Latest hospital bulletins from Capetown, April 13, say that Dr. Verwoerd is still making progress although is still suffering discomfort. It is reported that he may be slightly deaf in one ear on recovering.