‘We are now prisoners in our own homes’
CHATSWORTH used to be a pleasant place to raise a family, says the Reverend Abel Pillay, a local resident.
But after a spate of violent crime, and Pillay being hijacked three times, his views have changed.
“Crime is getting worse as the years go on. Criminals believe it is fine for them to loiter around in our communities and have their way,” he said. “Chatsworth has been under siege for a while now – it is unacceptable.”
Pillay, of Shallcross, knows about crime first hand.
“The first was when I was hijacked outside Home Affairs with my wife,” he told
“I went to the department to pick up passports to travel to a conference in the UK. Two men took our Toyota Corolla. The second was in 2011. I was on my way home from visiting church families in Malvern. As I stopped at a robot two men and a woman opened my doors and got into my car.
“They took me to two remote areas in Mariannhill and threatened to kill me. I just prayed and begged for mercy. After an hour of driving around they took my cellphone and wallet and left me in Sarnia.”
For Pillay, his third brush with hijackers was the frightening.
“My third hijacking took place in Unit 11 in 2017. I stopped to check on my tyre after my gauge indicated something was wrong. As I was inspecting my tyre two men cocked their guns and held them to my head. They assaulted me, took my wallet and cellphone and took my Mercedes-Benz,” he said. “All that goes through your mind is your family and all I could think was, ‘Lord help me’.”
Pillay said it was about time the community felt safe.
“I am a minister for the last 40 years. I get called at odd hours of the night, like a doctor I need to respond, but the past experiences affect my services to my parishioners. We don’t feel safe anymore.
“I am on the Chiltern Heights community chat; almost every day we hear of hijackings. Back in the day we didn’t care about locking doors, we didn’t care about gates and fences. Now we are prisoners in our own houses. It’s a very sad day for South Africa.”