Johannesburg - The wife and daughter of a founder member of vigilante group Pagad (People Against Gangsterism And Drugs) were helpless as he lay on the ground dying, after a robbery at their home.
Razia Snyman had opened the front door to leave for work on Tuesday, when she noticed a figure out the corner of her eye.
She immediately turned to the man who had gained entry to their small house in Newlands, Joburg. He just stood there.
In panic, she ran back inside without shutting the front door.
The 18-year-old screamed that someone was in their garden, prompting her father Shaheed to bolt out of his chair, while she ran and locked herself in her mother’s bedroom.
Her mother Feroza heard the commotion and ran down the hall to find Shaheed struggling with the intruder, who was trying to force his way in.
Moments later, and to Feroza’s horror, another intruder had pushed past the struggling men. Feroza said he walked towards her and she took a step back.
Feroza had also been getting ready for work and had dropped her laptop bag and handbag when she saw the scuffle.
She fell backwards over the laptop bag as the man approached her. He snatched her handbag and ran out the door.
Before she could get up, she saw the steak knife.
Her husband was sitting in the front doorway, clutching at his wound. He asked her to call an ambulance, but her phone was in the stolen handbag.
She ran to Razia, who called for an ambulance and they gathered around Shaheed. Applying pressure to the wound with one hand, Razia took her father’s hand with the other.
Suddenly, he slumped over and the pair knew they couldn’t wait for an ambulance. They screamed for help, asking neighbours and the rest of the family to help the wounded man into their car.
When they reached Helen Joseph Hospital, Shaheed still had a faint pulse. But doctors informed them shortly afterwards that he could not be saved.
Other former members of the Gauteng chapter of Pagad later led police to one of the suspects.
Ayob Mungalee and Mohammed Bhyat were informed of the incident and arrived at the house at about 4pm.
Mungalee, a director of the People Seeking Justice Action Group, wanted to assist with the investigation because he had known Shaheed Snyman for decades.
The three former Pagad members were instrumental in establishing the Gauteng branch of the organisation.
Mungalee and Bhyat searched the area and the veld near the house. They said the surrounding hills had many places for people to hide.
Then they found the contents of Feroza’s handbag, strewn on an unfinished concrete foundation in the veld.
The pair then ran into two men cooking mealies over an open fire.
Mungalee took out his iPad and began filming them while he questioned them.
But it was Bhyat who saw that one of the men was holding a bloodied knife.
The pair did their best to stay calm, while Mungalee informed police investigators of their find.
The man holding the knife was arrested and the knife was sent for forensic tests.
But the arrest was small comfort for Razia and Feroza, who said they didn’t know how the family would cope without Shaheed.
Mungalee said Shaheed’s death was a big loss to his community.
The suspect was expected to appear in court on Thursday on a murder charge, while the police search for the second suspect.