Durban - Pushed to the floor with guns held to the back of their heads, a well-known Durban North doctor and his wife had to remind themselves to remain calm to make it out of their ordeal alive.
The couple, who lived in Kenneth Kaunda Road (Northway) for more than 20 years, were enjoying a meal on Friday evening when four armed men broke through the front door with a sledgehammer.
Dressed in hoodies and gloves, they dragged the couple to a room and pinned them to the ground - but not before the quick-thinking husband got to the panic button.
Speaking to POST, the 55-year-old family doctor said the robbers ordered them to keep quiet and made him switch off the alarm.
“I complied, knowing that our safety was more important. They started asking about the safe. I told them we didn’t have one, but they persisted.
“They ran upstairs and ransacked the place, eventually finding the safe. They broke through it with the same sledgehammer and loaded cash and my wife’s gold jewellery into pillow cases.”
He said there was a fifth guy waiting in a car. “About five or six minutes later, a car started to hoot and they were out of the door.”
The doctor said he waited a few minutes before calling the police just in case they returned.
The home invasion, he said, was well planned.
“They knew exactly where to hit the door to get it to open and where to go for the valuables. They didn’t take the TV or anything else.”
He said he had sub-contractors working on the roof earlier in the week and found it odd the robbery had taken place soon afterwards.
He and his wife, 54, had to go for a “mental detox” and post-trauma counselling session, he said, and this was the first time they had such an experience.
“Our personal space was invaded and we work so hard for our things. It is a pandemic and we have a right to be angry. We shouldn’t have to be in a situation where we have to be thankful that our lives were spared.”
He said the one thing he learnt from the ordeal was that lifestyles needed to change and everyone needed to be more proactive in securing their properties.
“Install CCTV cameras and don’t keep too many valuables in the house. Secure your doors with what you need to, have external beams, and make sure your gates cannot be derailed. That extra five to 10 seconds of added security could save your life.”
He said high-risk times for house robberies were normally between 5.30pm and 9pm when your guard was down and alarms were off.
The incident comes a day after a robbery in Prestondale, uMhlanga, where a mother and daughter were tied up with cable ties and shoved into a bedroom by three men, armed with knives.
The robbers had gained entry by removing the burglar guard of a bathroom window and fled later in a white VW Polo which was later found abandoned on a river bank near Blackburn Village.
SAPS spokesperson Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said no arrests had been made.