The brother of the late Springbok player Joost van der Westhuizen is reported to have been involved in a shooting in a church in Centurion on Sunday when armed men attacked the congregation.
Netwerk24 reported that three armed men walked into the church and a put a gun to the head of the pastor, Kobus Erasmus, at Querencia ministries in Centurion, Tshwane.
Van der Westhuizen, an ex-policeman, allegedly produced his own firearm and shots were fired.
The police earlier told TimesLIVE that two suspected robbers were shot dead.
Van der Westhuizen’s lawyer, Ulrich Roux, told Netwerk24 he had already been in contact with the police.
“My client was absolutely acting in self defence, not only for himself, but also for the other congregants and the pastor,” Roux was quoted as saying by the Afrikaans news website.
Police spokesperson Brig Mathapelo Peters said reports from the scene suggest that the three suspects stormed into the church during a service and robbed congregants of their personal belongings at gunpoint.
One of the congregants allegedly fired shots, fatally wounding two suspects while the third one ran outside and sped off.
She said the pastor sustained minor injuries and was treated on site.
Police members at the scene recovered one firearm.