The brave young man who hurled a stapler at two would-be hijackers told News24 he was doing what he could to help.
“In that moment you don’t think logically. I know it was silly, but it’s done, it’s over,” Renier Ludick told News24.
“And fortunately everything turned out well.”
The incident happened at his mother Retha’s home in Helikonpark, Randfontein, at 7.30am on Thursday.
Retha runs a small business from her house. She told News24 that they had been living in the home for more than 20 years without any incident.
The drama unfolded not long after one of her employees, Joelene, pulled up into the driveway.
Joelene, who asked that her surname be withheld to protect her two sons, told News24 that the office helper and a minor were with her in the black Volkswagen Golf that morning.
A video clip of the incident surfaced on social media. It shows a blue bakkie stopping outside the property. As the gate closes two men – one wearing a reddish jacket, the other in a white shirt – jump from the bakkie and enter the yard.
“I pulled up into the yard and had already pressed the button for the gate to close,” Joelene said.
“My foot was still on the break and the car still in drive.”
When she looked to her right, Joelene saw one of the suspects holding a gun.
“He told me to ‘leave the car’ and ‘Please get out’.”
She said her hand instinctively moved to switch off the car, but the man then pointed the gun inches from her head and repeated what he had said before.
“That’s when I got out of the car. It didn’t feel real. For a moment I froze, but then I ran,” Joelene said. By this time the minor had already run screaming into the house.
During the commotion, the cleaner fell from the rear of the vehicle. When Joelene spotted her on the ground, she said instinct kicked in and she ushered her into the house.
The security gate had already closed, but it served as little deterrent. The hijackers crashed the Volkswagen through the gate.
The men paused for a moment, which is when Renier Ludick entered the fray – stapler in hand.
“I had just started working when I heard people shouting,” he explained.
When the three women reached the house and told him that the car was being stolen, he acted.
“The stapler was the only heavy thing I could find on my way out,” he said. It was only after hurling the stapler that Ludick realised the perpetrators were armed.
“That’s why I turned back,” he said.
One of the perpetrators, possibly after realising that Ludick wasn’t armed, started making his way back towards the car. But seconds later another man, who doesn’t want to be identified, ran from the house and kicked the car door, scaring the assailants off.
“He was just trying to help,” Ludick said. “He thought the perpetrators were still in the car.”
The whole ordeal only lasted about 20 seconds.
Two security companies and police were on scene 10 to 15 minutes later Ludick said. They were alerted by someone who had driven past the house mid-incident.
When asked how he was doing after the incident Ludick replied: “What can you say, it happens. But you are rattled after something like this.”
Retha said she now jumped at every sound and frequently checked the CCTV cameras at their home. The office helper suffered only minor bruising when she fell from the car.
Retha said they were still in the process of establishing the damage to their property.
Joelene, meanwhile, is still very traumatised by the events.
Even though police returned her Volkswagen to her, she said she couldn’t bring herself to get in.
“I try my best not to even look at the car,” she said. “I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”
She described Ludick and the others who helped so selflessly as “angels”.