Hi­jack hor­ror for for­mer Cape ANC leader

Mce­bisi Sk­wat­sha de­scribes be­ing held up at gun­point, robbed and locked in house

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - HENRIËTTE GELDEN­HUYS

“YOU are lucky to see me,” pro­vin­cial ANC heavy­weight Mce­bisi Sk­wat­sha de­clared this week af­ter fall­ing prey to armed at­tack­ers who robbed him of his hired car in Soshanguve, near Pre­to­ria.

The for­mer leader of the party in the West­ern Cape was at­tacked last week­end by three men, two with knives and one with a gun.

He said he was with his cousins Ken­neth and Xolelwa Sk­wat­sha, and his aunt No­du­misani Sk­wat­sha, walk­ing to­wards Xolelwa’s home in Soshanguve at about 9pm on November 1.

He said the group were forced into Xolelwa’s home, then robbed of their cell­phones.

Their at­tack­ers locked them in, be­fore flee­ing in the hire car, which was parked out­side.

Sk­wat­sha said he was there to at­tend the fu­neral of Mphelelezan­dleni Dladla, the father of his sis­ter-in-law Non­daka, the fol­low­ing day.

Af­ter spend­ing some time with his brother Taba, Non­daka and other rel­a­tives in Soshanguve as they pre­pared for the fu­neral, he and the oth­ers had left.

They stopped at Xolelwa’s house and got out of the car.

“That’s when these young boys pounced on us. They de­manded cell­phones and car keys. We gave our be­long­ings to them. They locked us in the house and then they left.

“I think a neigh­bour helped us to open the house, but I was not in my right state of mind so I can’t say. It was very scary,” he re­called.

“If it took five min­utes, it was a lot. Tsot­sis do what they want to do and leave as quickly as pos­si­ble, be­cause the longer they stay the more trou­ble they could get into.

“As soon as they got the car keys, which were not even with me, but with my cousin, they were gone,” Sk­wat­sha said.

At first he had be­lieved their at­tack­ers were friends of his rel­a­tives, fol­low­ing them.

“In the be­gin­ning, they looked friendly and we didn’t think they were com­ing to at­tack us, but it was all a ploy to corner us,” he said.

The rob­bery was re­ported to the Soshanguve po­lice sta­tion, even though Sk­wat­sha said he doubted he would be able to iden­tify the at­tack­ers.

Gaut­eng po­lice spokesman Bri­gadier Neville Malila con­firmed the rob­bery. He said no one had been ar­rested and the ve­hi­cle had not been re­cov­ered.

Sk­wat­sha told the Week­end

‘In the be­gin­ning, they looked friendly and we didn’t think they were com­ing to at­tack us’

Argus he’d orig­i­nally be­lieved the at­tack­ers tar­geted his hire car be­cause it had an ND reg­is­tra­tion num­ber, and they thought it would be eas­ier to get away.

But at the po­lice sta­tion, he said he spoke to other Soshanguve res­i­dents whose cars had also been stolen.

The other res­i­dents also told him it was “nor­mal” for these kinds of rob­beries to oc­cur at the end of the month.

“The only pos­i­tive thing about it was the pro­fes­sional as­sis­tance at the po­lice sta­tion,” Sk­wat­sha said.

“One hears sto­ries about the po­lice’s lack­lus­tre re­sponse, but in this case they im­me­di­ately as­sisted us and took our state­ments. They didn’t know who I was.”

Sk­wat­sha said he would be “very care­ful” when he vis­ited his fam­ily in Soshanguve again.

And his ad­vice to oth­ers in a sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tion? “Be calm. It’s best not to fight back, be­cause your life is more pre­cious than a wal­let or a car.”

● Crime statis­tics for the pe­riod April 2012 to March this year showed that 65 hi­jack­ings and 236 rob­beries with ag­gra­vat­ing cir­cum­stances oc­curred in Soshanguve.

hen­ri­ette.gelden­huys@inl.co.za

PIC­TURE: LEON LESTRADE

HI­JACKED: ANC MPL Mce­bisi Sk­wat­sha re­counts how he was robbed.

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