Durban - A chief prosecutor in KwaZulu-Natal has called for citizens to rally against crime after armed robbers terrorised her son, his girlfriend and a domestic worker at their Puntans Hill home in broad daylight.
Amy Kistnasamy, chief prosecutor for the Pinetown cluster, said the attack made her realise that no-one was immune to crime.
Her son, Provain, was pistol-whipped and had to have seven stitches to his head. His girlfriend, who did not want to be named, suffered a fractured foot and knee after scaling a high boundary wall in a desperate attempt to escape.
The couple, both 28 and studying for science doctorates, are undergoing trauma counselling.
Kistnasamy said they had returned to her Puntans Hill home at about 2.30pm last Wednesday. Her son had parked the car in the driveway and was waiting for the automated gate to close when, out of the corner of his eye, he spotted a man running down the driveway.
His girlfriend was in the passenger seat next to him.
He said: “At first I thought it was a policeman because of his blue jacket. Seconds later, he was at my side and pointed a gun at me. Three others then appeared. They were all wearing masks and had guns. One of them also pointed a gun at my girlfriend.”
He said a fifth suspect, was in the getaway car, a BMW, parked outside the gate. “They demanded money and jewellery from me. I pleaded with them to take whatever they wanted… The driveway gate began to close.”
He said the robbers panicked, assuming he had done something to close the gate.
“They shouted at me, not realising the gate was automated. One of them then struck me on my head with the butt of the gun. Fortunately, I managed to press the remote and the gate re-opened. They then dragged me, bleeding, into the house.” When the gate opened, the suspect in the getaway car, reversed into the driveway, he said.
They were forced at gunpoint to lie on the floor, he said. “They tried to remove a plasma television that was mounted on the wall. But, they could not get it down. They then demanded to know where the safe was. I told them it was in the next room. The keys to the safe and to the cupboard it was in, were with my mother.”
He said the robbers insisted he break the cupboard open.
“I banged and yanked at it… I only managed to break the handle. I told him I needed to get a screwdriver from the garage. He then took me to the lounge and left me with the two ladies. All four robbers then went to the garage to look for the tools.”
He said he feared for his girlfriend’s safety and had to get her out of the house.
“By this time, the driver had also come into the house. There were five of them, all with guns. I feared we were going to die or they were going to hurt my girlfriend. I grabbed her hand and told her and the maid to run for their lives.”
He said he felt confident the robbers would be confused by the house layout and would not easily find them.
“We went through the back door and decided to escape over the boundary wall which was over 2m high. My girlfriend could not scale the wall, so I pushed her over. She sustained a fractured foot and knee. I then jumped over.”
He said as the domestic worker attempted to escape, she heard the robbers returning.
“She overheard them saying that a neighbour across the road had spotted them. They made a run for it. They did not take anything.”
The maid then pressed the alarm panic button and telephoned Kistnasamy.”
Kistnasamy said: “The security company, which arrived minutes later, said there was blood all over the floor. They could not [initially] find Provain or his girlfriend.
“I am just relieved they are alive,” she said. “It has been very traumatic…
The pair were treated at a local hospital for their injuries.”
As a chief prosecutor, Kistnasamy said she dealt with crime issues daily.
“We as a community have become very apathetic towards crime. Every day someone becomes a victim, but we just seem to pick up the pieces and move on. It’s almost as if we have accepted that this is our fate.
“It is time for us to stand together as a community and do something to fight back. We need to rally as citizens and lobby for change – for example call for harsher sentences for criminals.”
Kistnasamy said she also came across serious cases where criminals escaped justice.
“The police do their jobs and investigations are wrapped up, but witnesses refuse to testify. This means criminals walk free. We need to fight back and not be afraid. Testifying can put them behind bars for a long time. If not, the criminals can go out and hurt someone else.”
She said she decided to go public with her story to encourage communities to fight back against crime and not accept it as part of their daily lives.
“My family has become a victim of crime. As a mother, I would not want any parent to feel the pain and trauma that my husband and I have been through in the past few days.” - Daily News