Durban - An elderly Phoenix widower was dragged by his collar, repeatedly kicked in the ribs and battered bloody by a robber dressed in municipal overalls during a brutal home invasion last Friday.

Norman Ganesen, 60, of Tynecroft, who lives alone since his wife died a few years ago, was returning home from work at around 6.45pm when the man approached.

Ganesen, an accounts clerk, reportedly casually engaged him in conversation about an apparent municipal complaint the “worker” had received.

According to the victim’s son, Hilton, the suspect used this as a ploy to distract his father, while four armed accomplices entered the property.

Said Hilton: “My dad had just returned home and the gate was still open. The man followed him in and told him about a complaint from DSW (Durban Solid Waste). While they were chatting, he caught my dad by the collar and dragged him into the house.

“Four men with guns arrived in a brown Hyundai SUV and two of them beat my father, while the other two ransacked the house.”

Hilton said the men tried to pull his dad into the bedroom so that he could point out where his valuables were, but he refused to budge.

“They continued to beat and kick him in the lounge and repeatedly shouted at him wanting to know ‘where’s the gold, where’s the gold?’”

Hilton said the men rummaged through the rooms looking for valuables.

“They removed the clothing from the cupboards... They left the place in a mess.”

The robbers, he said, eventually fled with his father’s flat-screen television, cellphone, wallet, watch and other valuables worth about R20 000.

“My dad brings his work home with him and they even stole his bag containing all his documents.”

KZN VIP Security and Medical responded to the house robbery after receiving calls from a neighbour, who heard Ganesen’s screams.

“The homeowner sustained serious injuries. We managed to stabilise him before rushing him to hospital for further medical attention,” said Glen Naidoo of KZN VIP.

He encouraged residents to be cautious of this possible modus operandi.

Hilton said his dad had suffered severe facial injuries, a broken lip and multiple bruises.

“My father is in bad shape, not only physically but emotionally. He is seeing a counsellor and has an appointment with a psychologist this week.”

Police spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Thulani Zwane, said a case of house robbery was opened.

“No arrests have been made at this stage.”

The eThekwini’s head of communications, Tozi Mthethwa, said they were not aware of this case.

“However, there have been similar cases in the past where criminals used the eThekwini name to gain entry into people’s homes claiming that they want to advise them on energy saving, meter installations or readings and to perform other alleged council-related work.

“We urge residents to avoid falling prey to criminals posing as municipal employees. Any representative of the municipality will have an ID tag with a photograph, ID or employee number with the municipal logo.”

If residents have any suspicions, they can call to confirm with the municipality’s 24-hour call centre on 080 131 3111.