Lying face-down on the carpet in a Winterton farmhouse, domestic worker Nonhlanhla Gumede prayed earnestly for her employers and herself.
Armed robbers were standing over Gumede and her bosses, Mohammad Engar, 67, and his wife Razia, 56, demanding cash and valuables, when she called for divine intervention.
Her prayer for safety did not come true.
The robbers pounced, violently.
She survived but Engar died and his wife is still recovering from the severe beating and torture she and her husband were subjected to last Thursday night.
Engar, a sugarcane farmer in northern KZN, died in hospital last Saturday.
He was beaten, stabbed and tortured with a hot iron during a two-hour ordeal, when five armed men attacked their home.
The attack left Razia with burn marks on her legs, a stab wound to her back and a bloodied face.
The trauma has resulted in memory loss for Razia who is recovering with family in Pietermaritzburg.
One of Engar’s farmworkers was shot twice when robbers arrived at his Noodhulp Farm. The unidentified man is still recovering in hospital.
The robbers ransacked the house but only took cellphones, a CCTV recording machine, clothing and a car which was later recovered.
SAPS spokesman captain Thulani Zondi confirmed five robbers were involved in the attack on Engar’s Noodhulp farm.
“No arrests have been made,” Zwane said.
Walking through the house yesterday where bloodstains were still visible on the bedroom carpet, Gumede, who bears no physical wounds, is emotionally scarred.
“I’m afraid. I struggle to sleep at night,” Gumede said.
She said her sleep is broken each night and memories of the brutal robbery come flooding back.
“It’s like a movie playing in my head, over and over again. I don’t know if I’ll ever forget what happened that night,” she said.
On the night of the incident Gumede, 31, said she was in a deep sleep but was awoken by Razia’s piercing screams.
Gumede shared a room with Razia’s 82-year-old mother, who was also in the house at the time.
Before she realised what was happening, Gumede was confronted by a man pointing a gun at her.
“I screamed,” she said.
“He called me a s**t and told me to keep quiet,” Gumede said.
She was given trousers to tie the old woman’s hands and Gumede was forced to gag her with a scarf.
Gumede was then thrown on the floor next to Engar and his wife.
“I could see blood pouring from madam’s face (Razia).
“I held her and we both prayed.”
The domestic worker believes the robbers misconstrued their desperate prayers as attempts to hatch an escape plan.
Razia and Gumede were subsequently moved to separate rooms.
While in one of the bedrooms, Gumede says that one of the robbers forced her on to the bed and told her her life would be spared if she had sex with him.
But Gumede claims being in her menstrual cycle saved her from being raped.
“The man didn’t believe me when I told him. He forced me to take off my underwear so he could see for himself,” she said.
Gumede eventually came out of her room and heard one of the farmworkers calling out to her.
The police were accompanying him.
She checked on the other rooms and found Engar in her bedroom.
“He was covered in blood, the lower part of his legs had no skin and he was struggling to breathe. I’ll never forget that night,” said Gumede. - Sunday Tribune