Saturday, July 19, 2008

Family in hijack nightmare

Wanton violence, wanton terror, total lawlessness, total fear.

Put a cross next to the ANC’s name at election time at your peril. My conscience is clear in that regard.

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For six hours a Fort Hare University professor’s family were terrorised by two armed thugs in a hijack ordeal near King William’s Town during which they shot him and repeatedly raped his eldest daughter.

Yesterday, his wife, a schoolteacher, told of their nightmare:

# How she and her other daughter were tied up and dumped near the spot where her husband’s car had a puncture;

# How her husband was left bleeding in some roadside bushes; and

# How the gunmen sped off with their other daughter to withdraw money – and raped her on the way.

The horror began for the family, who cannot be identified because of the sexual attack, at about 6pm on Monday when the high school teacher and her two daughters, aged 23 and 27, arrived to help their father change a tyre on the road between King William’s Town and Dimbaza.

They noticed two people standing a distance away and, while they were busy replacing the tyre, one of them asked for a lift to King William’s Town.

“I said we had a problem with the car being broken down and it wouldn’t be wise for him to stand there.

I suggested he take a taxi, said ‘God must bless him’ and he went away,” said the mother from her King William’s Town home.

They changed the tyre and the women were about to leave in their car but the professor’s vehicle would not to start. The two men were still in the vicinity but, the wife continued, “we never paid any attention to them as we thought they were just innocent hitchhikers who were going their own way”.

She and her daughters got out to see if they could help when one of the men “drew a pistol and came straight to my husband and shot him in the stomach at close range. “He wanted to kill him straight away,” she said.

“We were so shocked we screamed, not knowing what to do. “I just said they must take what they wanted; they must take my cars, money and jewellery and leave us alone.

“I was very brave and prayed a lot that my husband wouldn’t die. I watched him as he painfully crawled to the nearby bushes.”

The professor’s wife thought they had killed him as one the gunmen followed him and returned with his shoes and clothes.

“I knew that they had finished him. My mind went blank and I prayed very hard.”

She pleaded: “Take whatever you want” but they wouldn’t listen. The thugs bundled the mother and daughters into her car and drove off.

“They blindfolded us and demanded money. My elder daughter had about R3000 in her bank account and they took her around (to Alice) and withdrew the money.

On the way there, they raped her.” Then they sped off towards Hogsback to draw money from the other daughter’s account, taking turns to rape the eldest daughter on the way.

They eventually left her to drive back in the car. The wife and younger daughter were dumped in the dark.

At midnight, they managed to free themselves and find help at a nearby village. The police were called and immediately started searching for the two men.

The professor was taken to Grey Hospital in King William’s Town and transferred to East London Private Hospital on Tuesday.

He was operated on that night and is in a stable condition.

Police spokesperson Thozama Solani called for community help in tracking down “these dangerous men”, who are wanted for attempted murder, hijacking and rape. “Contact us if you see anyone selling stolen goods,” she said.

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