YUSUF OMAR, KUTLWANO OLIFANT AND SHAIN GERMANER
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EBEN Brits, 30, carried his 23-month-old son Benjamin out of Olivedale Clinic yesterday afternoon.
His father was pushing his 54-year-old mother Rina – also discharged – on a wheelchair.
Rina and Benjamin had been shot in their left feet during the NWJ jewellery store heist in Randridge Mall on Saturday.
Eben said both were traumatised and were having nightmares.
Two years ago, the barrel of a gun was pressed against Eben’s forehead at the very same store.
“It was very similar; eight men. That time nobody was caught,” said Eben.
“Shortly after the incident in 2009, I moved out of the jewellery business and into the pet trade. I would rather work with dangerous animals than people.”
None of his family have returned to the Randridge store, which they intend to reopen on Thursday.
“They took everything. There is no stock. Police will return the stolen goods tomorrow,” he said.
CCTV footage shows that nine robbers cleared out the shop in less than five minutes.
Eben said his mother and son’s operations were successful.
“My mother had a screw put in her foot to repair a broken bone.” Two other shattered bones were beyond repair.
“My son is very lucky. The bullet went straight through his foot and the doctors say no permanent damage was done,” he said.
Doctors said recovery would take four to six weeks.
Benjamin, who turns two next week, has been walking for “over a year now, but will have to learn to do it all over again”, said Eben.
A policewoman and a shopper were also shot during the incident.
Eben's father, who was carrying Benjamin as they entered the shop when the robbers were exiting, was “very traumatised and feels guilty”, Eben said.
He is not the only one recovering from Saturday’s drama.
Jason Modisenyane, 20, a Varsity College student, says he was wrongfully arrested during the robbery and was released without appearing in court yesterday.
Investigators conceded he was not among the group of robbers.
Modisenyane said he was on his way to Cresta Mall to meet a friend when he was arrested by police officers.
“Two police officers pulled out on a traffic circle just two houses away from my house. A female officer instructed me to put my hands up while pointing her firearm at me. The male officer (fired a) shot in the air and I was told to lie down.
“A motorist told the police that the men were hiding in the nearby country club, but they didn’t listen,” said the student.
He said his cellphone, wallet and keys were taken from him when police officers searched him.
“I was kicked by the officers just before I was taken to the truck. I kept on shouting ‘I didn’t do it. I live up the road’.”
The accused, Levert Ndou, Thulani Madondo, Ian Mncube and Thabo Dlamini, appeared in the Randburg Magistrate’s Court yesterday on three charges of attempted murder, and other charges relating to armed robbery, possession of illegal firearms, possession of stolen property, and reckless and negligent driving.
Ndou told the court he had been imprisoned for three years for housebreaking in 2002.
Mncube, a Zimbabwean, told the court he had been sentenced to 18 months for fraud in 1997.
The case was postponed to Friday.
Police spokesman Lungelo Dlamini said they were looking for the other robbers.