Kimberley - “Give us R10 000 or else we will shoot and kill you and your two cute sons.”
These are the words that four alleged robbers directed to a Kimberley woman who lives with her two children and a domestic worker at a house she is renting in Hadison Park.
The house was apparently owned by Riaan “Lappies” Labuschagne, a man who was shot and killed at a diamond sorting facility near Windsorton on February 27.
The woman said that the threatening messages were made via phonecalls and through a letter that the alleged robbers left at the house when they broke into it on Wednesday morning.
“They are demanding that I place R10 000 in a bag and leave it in a rubbish bin at the Shoprite complex in the city centre,” she said.
The woman has since opened a case with the police in relation to the threats and assault of her domestic worker by the alleged robbers.
The men allegedly assaulted the woman’s domestic worker on Wednesday morning when they broke into the house.
On Thursday, the woman battled to hold back her tears as she described how the four men tormented her and her family since the beginning of the week.
“These men have, on several occasions, phoned me and even broke into my house and left a letter in which they threatened to kill us if I did not give them the money,” she said.
She pointed out that she did not know who the men were and had only started noticing them on Tuesday when they came to her place of work.
“On Wednesday, they came to my house shortly after I left for work and assaulted my domestic worker. They throttled her and pinned her down to the floor while holding a knife against her. All this happened inside the house in the full view of my children,” the woman said.
The woman’s children are aged 4 and 7.
She said that they moved into the house on April 1 when they came from Nelspruit to settle in Kimberley.
“It is like these men know everything about us. In fact, I believe they have been watching us for weeks already because they even know where my domestic worker catches her lift to go to her home in Hopetown,” the woman said.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the woman said that on the day the men assaulted her domestic worker, they (she and her domestic worker) tried to phone the police after the incident but the police arrived at the scene late.
“We phoned the police just after 9am but they only arrived late in the day (after 1pm). We had to seek the services of a local security guard company because we were no longer safe in the house,” she added.
She pointed out that they were traumatised by the constant threats from the men that they even fled to her parents’ home somewhere in Kimberley.
“We felt that we are no longer safe in the house because these people can just break in and leave letters and assault us at any time they wanted. We are really scared,” she said.
The woman’s domestic worker, who was assaulted, said that she was only concerned about the children.
“I kept on fighting back against the men because I had to protect the children. At one point, I managed to grab one of the knives that the men were carrying and chased them with it. That is how we survived,” she added.
The woman said that although the men did not steal much from the house, they managed to take her phone and the R20 note that she had left in her bedroom.
On Thursday, several police officers had gathered outside the house and at one point they were talking amongst themselves about possible pictures of the alleged gunmen that were taken at Shoprite complex in the city centre.
However, none of the police officers shared the pictures with the media.
At one point there were suspicions that the threats and the attack on the woman’s family could be linked to the killing of Labuschagne. However, the woman expressed doubts about this.
Northern Cape police spokeswoman, Lieutenant Andrea Cloete, said that they were investigating the incident and that by Thursday afternoon, there had been no arrest effected.
“One of the suspects took jewellery to the value of R150,” she added.
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