Cops rush to change shift, leav­ing vic­tims fac­ing death

The Sunday Independent - - News - NKULULUEKO NENE

AN MPUMALANGA cou­ple’s Easter hol­i­day visit to the South Coast was ru­ined last week­end af­ter they were robbed at gun­point along the N3 Free­way near the Spaghetti Junc­tion.

At about 5 am on Satur­day, the Ford Ranger that Sarie and An­drei van Rens­burg were driv­ing came to a stand­still af­ter hit­ting large boul­ders that were placed on the free­way.

While in­spect­ing the ve­hi­cle’s punc­tured wheels, the Van Rens­burgs, who live in Se­cunda, were held up by four men, one al­legedly armed with a 9mm pis­tol. The oth­ers were bran­dish­ing knives. Al­though two SAPS po­lice of­fi­cers had pulled over soon af­ter the in­ci­dent, the of­fi­cers al­legedly ad­vised that they were chang­ing shift, but would en­sure other of­fi­cers on duty would be dis­patched to the scene. How­ever it was only shortly be­fore 7am that SAPS mem­bers ar­rived. Van Rens­burg said if it had not been for an off-duty Metro po­lice­woman who lived nearby, they be­lieve they might have been killed while wait­ing for SAPS as­sis­tance.

Van Rens­burg, who is a for­mer army of­fi­cer, said he and his wife were shocked and dis­gusted that the two SAPS of­fi­cers had aban­doned them when they needed po­lice pro­tec­tion.

“The of­fi­cers who stopped to see if we were OK were use­less. They did not even have the brav­ery to pa­trol the area af­ter I had fought off the armed thugs,” said Van Rens­burg. “We were left in to­tal frus­tra­tion and could not un­der­stand why chang­ing a shift was more im­por­tant to them than our safety,” said Sarie.

She said dur­ing the scuf­fle her hus­band was cut on the nose and arm. She had begged her hus­band not to put up a fight but rather let the rob­bers help them­selves to gro­ceries, cash and clothes.

“They had charged like a pack of hye­nas” said Sarie. “Af­ter tak­ing our gro­ceries and valu­ables they fled, but then came back again a few min­utes later,” she said. “We let them take all our valu­ables.”

Sarie said she had tried to flag down pass­ing cars for help but no mo­torists had dared to stop in the de­serted area. She said if it had not been for the Metro po­lice­woman who had come to their aid, they might have been killed.

The Metro of­fi­cer, who lives in nearby Ch­ester­ville, was driv­ing to work when she came upon the cou­ple walk­ing away from the scene.

Metro po­lice cap­tain Greg Beavon said he had dis­patched a van af­ter re­ceiv­ing a call from the of­fi­cer who had stayed with the cou­ple un­til back-up had ar­rived.

“I dis­patched the van from beach pa­trol head­quar­ters be­cause I feared for their safety. The area is de­serted and has been full of hor­rific rob­bery sto­ries, in­clud­ing rock throw­ing,” he said.

SAPS spokesper­son Colonel Them­beka Mb­hele con­firmed that a case of rob­bery had been opened, but said she was not aware of the al­le­ga­tions that SAPS mem­bers failed to help the vic­tims stranded by the road­side.

“We ad­vise the vic­tims to see Ca­tor Manor sta­tion com­man­der so that the mat­ter will be in­ves­ti­gated,” she said.

nku­l­uleko.nene@inl.co.za

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