Hijacking in Mamelodi sees man shot at while running through bush
Pretoria - Crime statistics released last Friday showed that the east of Pretoria was a major hotbed for crime.
Residents such as Jan-Hendrik Liebetrau have experienced it and lived to tell the story of a hijacking attempt that saw him run through bushes in Mamelodi while being shot at.
Liebetrau was dropping off his colleague Samuel Hlatshwayo near the Heatherly dumping site after a late job in Centurion.
He said that when he was about to leave, they were accosted by three men on both sides of his truck.
“We did not think much of it and got out of the truck to see what was happening; we then saw one guy reach for a gun, and when I looked to my colleague's side, there were two guys.”
He said before he knew it a shot rang out on the other side as the guys saw the shovel in his colleague's hand, thinking he was about to attack them.
The gunmen fired a shot but missed. Liebetrau said he took a chance while the one who was pointing a gun at him was stunned and ran into nearby bushes.
“I took a chance, and ran into the nearby bushes in a bid to evade them. As I went into the bush, one of them followed me. It was dark and they were shooting at me as I ran.
“In my head, I kept thinking they had killed Samuel. I didn't know they missed him and thought he was dead. While running, I tripped and fell. As I tried to get up, I turned and I was met with the gun.
“I was hit on the side of my head with the butt of the gun and instructed to get my keys. So, as I was searching for the keys, I saw a gap and grappled the guy as he was getting closer to me and reached for the gun.
“In the fight, I took hold of part of the gun and fired a shot at him. I don't know if it hit him, then I continued running. I heard whistling after the shot, indicating they were nearby.
“My wife tried to phone me, but I had to reject the call so as not to make a sound until I reached a safe point where I called her that was after running for over an hour in the dense bushes with thorns pricking me all over. I told her to call my uncle, Simon Riekert, who is a police reservist, to come to fetch me. I sent her a live location, and I started to run again.
Liebetrau eventually got to a road and saw houses. He sought refuge in one of the nearby houses as he waited for his uncle and private security firm Brinant to come to his rescue.
When he was eventually rescued and went back to the scene, they found his colleague injured with the contents of the truck stolen.
Liebetrau said he would not open a case as he did not believe the culprits could be found. “I am just happy we are alive and can live to share this story, and warn others to be vigilant everywhere they go.
“I'm the father of two young girls. I was terrified for them, and for my wife. I am also shocked at the levels of crime in the country. The truth is it is getting worse and fast.”