THE family of 89-year-old Nelson Mandela Bay pensioner Thomas de Kock, who was brutally attacked in his Lorraine home and found semi- conscious in a pool of blood on Tuesday, said although he was in pain and struggling to communicate, his eyes filled with tears when he saw them yesterday for the first time since the attack.
De Kock, who police initially feared might not recover from his injuries, was in a stable condition but was struggling to speak.
"I feel much better now that I’ve got to see him,” said daughter Monica de Wet, 59, who drove to Port Elizabeth from Mpumalanga on Wednesday to be with her father.
De Kock was admitted to Livingstone Hospital on Tuesday morning after being assaulted with a blunt object the night before by an unknown number of assailants.
Because of De Kock’s condition, it is unclear whether anything was stolen from his home.
Neighbours said De Kock was known for his charity to the homeless and the hungry.
De Kock suffered internal bleeding, several lacerations to the face and bruising around the chest.
De Wet and her husband, Thys, said they had been trying to convince De Kock to move out of his house where he had lived alone for many years.
"He loves to work in the garden. We’ve been trying to get him to come live with either us, or in a nice home where he’ll be taken care of. His name’s on a waiting list, but he wouldn’t ever consider moving.”
De Wet said when her father saw her in hospital he had tears in his eyes. "He definitely recognised me. I just don’t think he remembers much about what happened.”
She said they would be staying at her father’s Rennes Street, Lorraine, property while he recovered. When he was stable enough, they planned to take him to live with them in Mpumalanga.
"His house is for sale, so we’re just going to stay here and help move that along and go to see him in hospital,” she said.
De Wet, who studied nursing at the Free State University and has experience as a nursing sister, said her father’s condition was not life-threatening.
"His eyes are very swollen. The soft tissue is very inflamed, but he’s very strong.”
Police spokesman Captain Johann Rheeder said the investigation into the attack was ongoing.
He appealed to members of the community with any information that might help with the case to come forward and report it as soon as possible.
They can contact Captain Elroy Lindoor on 082-319-8707.