DURBAN - A Johannesburg mother has described the traumatic ordeal that her family suffered at the hands of robbers while they were travelling on the N3 near Heidelberg last week.
Nadia Omar, 37, from Randburg said that she, her husband Trevor and their three children had been travelling back home to Johannesburg after spending a holiday in the Drakensberg.
She said while her husband was driving, their vehicle’s tyres were punctured. She said she believed that an object was placed on the road to puncture the tyres.
“Out of nowhere we heard what sounded like a huge bang and felt the vehicle sway to the left (Trevor managed to retain control of the vehicle).
“My initial thought was that we were hit at the back right side or front right of the vehicle by a truck. (I was seated at the back of vehicle). We immediately sensed the deflation of tyres on the right side of our vehicle and Trevor then said to me... ‘we are being sabotaged, they have placed something to puncture the tyres or thrown something under the car’. He tried to move the car far away from the zone of impact to give us time should they be planning to attack us and then quickly pulled over on the emergency lane.”
Omar added they had managed to slowly move the vehicle a further 1km up the road, and called for roadside assistance.
“Being in Heidelberg at what was approaching 12am... it took Outsurance close to 20 minutes to find a service provider to come out to us.
“Out of nowhere we see guns held by three men pointing at the front and back windows on the right side of the vehicle.”
She said they realised with “absolute horror” that they were “now defenceless with an infant and two young children in the dark, in the middle of nowhere needing to make decisions to save our lives”.
“We had split seconds to think.”
Omar said that one of the armed gunmen began attempting to break the driver's window with the gun.
“He shattered the glass but failed to break through because of the smash and grab tint. They then started indicating that they would pull the trigger to shoot at Trevor or the door handle either of which could have been potentially fatal. Trevor managed to open the door for them.”
Omar added that once they had access to the inside of the car, they pushed a gun to Trevor's chest and started demanding all personal belongings.
“The same was done to me at the back of the vehicle whilst I had Aivah on my lap. I need not explain to anyone the reaction of my two older children... they screamed and cried in horror watching the robbers place the gun to their father’s chest and pull Trevor out to the back of the vehicle. Both Trevor and I in this moment of horror remained calm and collected. We did not scream or cry - we told them loud and clear, ‘Take what you want, please don't hurt any of us.’”
Omar said that they readily handed the robbers the items they demanded including handbags, wallets, cellphones, laptops and jewellery.
“They had demanded cash and searched for cash several times.”
Omar added that the robbery lasted no more than 2 to 3 minutes.
“We sat there in shock and 5 minutes later, the tow truck and transport vehicles had arrived.”
Omar said she wanted to share the ordeal they suffered to alert other people to the dangers posed and to urge travellers to be vigilant.
Police confirmed that the robbery was being investigated by Heidelberg police but said further details could only be provided today.