Durban radio presenter pleads for help on air during armed robbery
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Durban: Management and staff at Megazone FM were left shaken after they were robbed at gunpoint at the station's premises in uMhlanga on Friday evening.
Vishal Maharaj, the founder of Megazone FM, said he had just concluded a meeting with 10 staff, some of whom then left the boardroom. He said while the rest of them were chatting, one of the presenters, Leshav Dilraj, heard glass breaking.
"From our office, we could see men at a salon opposite our premises. We initially thought that kids were messing around, but we nevertheless went out to alert security, and I activated the panic alarm."
He said two men from the group managed to enter their offices.
"One punched and pushed Leshav to the ground, while the other pointed his gun to my face.”
Maharaj said while this was happening, another presenter, who was on-air at the time in the studio, saw the commotion.
“There are glass doors around the studio, and you can only enter with biometrics. The presenter saw what was happening, and she made a call-out on-air for help. She also sent out a voice note for the authorities to help.”
He said while he had a gun pointed to his head, all he could think about was being killed.
“I stared into the gun because it was all I could do. I was afraid. I knew I was going to be shot.”
He said another presenter, who was with him and the staff, was also punched in his face.
Maharaj said equipment, including computers, laptops, tower cases, cell phones and staff handbags, were stolen.
“What happened is really upsetting. We are already struggling financially due to the Covid-19 pandemic and adverts being pulled, and now we have to buy equipment. In total, about R230 000 worth of equipment was taken. Crime has affected us at the worst time.”
He said he arranged for trauma counselling for the staff at the premises that evening. Maharaj said a case of theft was opened at the Durban North police station.
Dilraj said returning to the station on Monday was difficult.
“What happened was a blur. Although it lasted a few minutes, it felt like forever for me. I was afraid when the men stormed in and when I was hit and pushed. My instinct was to immediately get to the ground. There were female colleagues with us who were also traumatised. This incident has made me more conscious of my surrounding."
Kyle Van Reenan, the spokesperson for Emer-G-Med, said paramedics were on scene and assessed the presenters.
Police spokesperson Colonel Thembeka Mbele confirmed a case of business robbery is being investigated by Durban North SAPS.
“It is alleged that on 25 June 2021 at 19:25, two unknown suspects armed with firearms entered the business premise in Umhlanga Ridge. At gunpoint, they robbed the staff of cellphones, laptops and computers before fleeing the scene. No shots were fired and no injuries were reported.”
The station will hold a radiothon on July 7 from 6am to 9pm to raise funds to replace the equipment that was stolen. For more information, refer to their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/megazonebollywood/