Ntombizethu Ngcobo
Journalist
3 minute read
29 Jul 2022
07:13

House robbers shoot children in Pietermaritzburg

Ntombizethu Ngcobo

Two girls, five and 14 years old, were shot during a house robbery in Caluza, Pietermaritzburg.

“I thought I was going to die; the only thing that was on my mind was saving my children’s lives.”

This is how a 44-year-old man from Caluza in Pietermaritzburg, who cannot be named to protect the identity of his children, described how he summoned the courage to make phone calls and seek help during an armed robbery that resulted in his two daughters being shot.

His 14-year-old was shot in the side of her stomach and the five-year-old sustained a gunshot wound above her ear.

The children are both in hospital.

The family was preparing to go to bed when they heard a loud noise coming from behind the dining room door on Wednesday evening at around 8.40 pm.

According to the father, his wife looked through the window and saw three men trying to open the door.

“We took our daughters to the bedroom, switched the lights off, and locked ourselves inside. We blocked the door with a chest of drawers and a double bed.

The men then started breaking the spare room window and moved to the children’s room, where they managed to gain entry into the house.

The intruders then started banging on the bedroom door demanding to be let in.

“I called my brother and neighbour for help.

“The intruders told us it was our last day and they would kill us if we didn’t open the door. Eventually, gunshots were fired. The bullets went through the door and hit the children. We only noticed that they were shot after the attackers left.

“They got scared and fled when the people who I had called arrived to assist us. Before they fled the scene, they took a flat screen television and a laptop.

“If no one had came and disturbed them, we would have been dead. We no longer feel safe in this place. We’re going to find another place to stay since this [place] now brings back bad memories.

“It is my duty to find my children a safe place to stay,” the father said, adding that they would appreciate counselling.

He said he also hopes the police catch the robbers before they attack anyone else.

“If they are still at large, it means they will continue to terrorise people. I am also not safe as I don’t know whether they wanted me. I am grateful for the service I received from the Plessislaer police officers.”

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The man said doctors were still going to assess the extent of the injuries suffered by the children and decide whether the five-year-old needed to be transferred to Albert Luthuli Hospital for further treatment.

He added that when they left the hospital, the bullet had not yet been removed from the 14-year-old child.

Police spokesperson Sergeant Sifiso Gwala said they are investigating a house robbery case and two counts of attempted murder.

No one had been arrested at the time of publication.

Plessislaer community policing forum (CPF) chairperson Sifiso Mavundla said similar house robbery incidents were reported in eMaqeleni area.

“Suspects sometimes kill their victims; you are lucky if they don’t. This looks like a syndicate.

“As community members, we need to work together. If someone is in trouble you need to help out and call the police because it is dangerous for one to go out and fight the armed men,” said Mavundla.

He added that they also work with private security companies with the aim of curbing crime in the area.

“This started in Emaqeleni and now these gangs have moved to other areas. We had a series of operations to curb such crimes at Emaqeleni and that is why [the syndicate] has relocated …

“We are pleading with the community to come forward if they have any information.”