Durban - Durbanites have had enough of crime and are fighting back, not afraid to take action to defend themselves and their families.
On Friday morning, robbers fired shots at a Reservoir Hills businessman after they had loaded their loot into his vehicle, then drove away.
He returned fire as they tried to make their getaway, wounding one.
This was the second such incident in Durban.
Last Friday, former policewoman and self-defence expert Renette Edwards, 52, of Morningside, used a samurai sword to chop at a burglar who had broken into her flat and stolen her cellphone and laptop.
Fortunately for him, she had used the blunt side.
In other incidents around the country this month, would-be burglars had their plans thwarted when they made the home of crime intelligence officers their target.
Three men went to the Joburg home of Captain Thandi Mejelo, who shot a burglar in his genitals and legs when he opened her front door. The other two suspects tried to make a getaway, but Mejelo fired at the car as well.
Also in Joburg, a woman shot dead two robbers who broke into her home last month.
A man entered her bedroom while she was asleep next to her husband and threatened to shoot them.
The woman pulled out a gun from under her pillow and shot the man. She shot the second intruder as well.
In Cape Town last month, Angelina Youngman, 70, was attacked at her home in Sir Lowry’s Pass, but she fought off her attacker with a telephone directory.
She used the heavy book to hit the gun away from her face, before punching and hitting her attacker. Youngman then fled and alerted her neighbours.
On Friday, the Reservoir Hills businessman, who did not want his identity revealed, said that when three armed robbers invaded his home in Tenna Terrace, threatening the safety of his wife and sleeping baby, and shot at him, he did not want to be another South African crime statistic.
“Enough is enough. Criminals know they can take advantage of people because people are scared to defend themselves,” he said.
The father of two had survived two previous robberies at his business, and after the second one said he would not be afraid to take action should he be attacked again.
Early on Friday morning, while he was outside watching his child leave for school, he was about to go inside when he saw three men come up the road from a nearby driveway.
He watched his child leave and when he entered his yard, the armed men followed him inside.
“They held me up inside my own house. I was afraid, as my wife was inside with my 1-year-old baby and I didn’t know what they would do to them.”
Two of the robbers wore balaclavas and demanded gold and jewellery.
“I told them I had none. I told them to take whatever else they wanted and leave. I was afraid they would harm my wife and child.
“The one guy pulled the TV off the wall, and one guy took my car keys from my hands and went towards my Golf, which was parked in the yard.
“He tried to open the door, but the alarm went off, and I think this alerted the neighbours,” he said.
One of the suspects then started to call out for them to leave and the robbers went to his Golf.
The man said he believed the robbers wanted to flee because his neighbours were making their way to his house, because they realised something was amiss.
“As they went to the car, I went outside. My wife was coming outside as well, but I just pushed her back inside. Then the one robber shot at me with his firearm. I had my firearm on me and I shot back. I thought he was going to kill us.”
The robber who took a bullet fell to the ground, and his accomplices sped off at such speed that the TV fell out of the vehicle. His car was later found in Clermont.
The man said that, despite this being a traumatic incident, it was fortunate that he was at home.
“Usually my wife leaves home later and alone. At the very least, I was here to defend my family.
“The local CPF and the police responded so quickly that I have to say thank you to them, and to everyone who came to our assistance.”
The man said there had been several recent crime incidents in Reservoir Hills. He urged people to be careful, but at the same time not to be afraid to defend themselves.
Satish Dhupelia, chairman of the local community police forum, urged residents to be careful.
“I also don’t want to incite further violence. Sometimes taking the law into your own hands is not the best option. Only in certain instances… should you shoot a suspected criminal,” he said.
SAPS spokesman for KwaZulu-Natal, Major Thulani Zwane, confirmed the incident and said the complainant had wounded one suspect. He had been taken to hospital under police guard and would appear in court on charges of house robbery soon.
Zwane said people should not take the law into their own hands.