Abducted man caught up in cop, gang shoot-out

2009-03-10 00:00

A Pietermaritzburg man, Zaheer Aboobaker (32), yesterday described his ordeal after he was abducted by hijackers outside his former home in Burger Street on March 27, 2003 and then found himself caught up in the middle of a shoot-out between the gang and police in which a hijacker died.

Who is on trial:

Sabelo Mkhize (25), Thulani Ndaba (36) and Thulani Ngubane (35) face seven charges of robbery with aggravating circumstances, kidnapping, attempted murder, murder and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition. Thy have pleaded not guilty before Judge Isaac Madondo and assessors.

The two attempted murder charges relate to the shoot-out between the gang and police officers Imraan Shaik and Reeno Navin Dayaram, and the murder charge is in respect of the death of the accused’s alleged accomplice, Muzi Idron Shangase, who was killed.

Aboobaker said that on the night in question, he left his house at 8.30 pm in his car, leaving the engine running while he closed the gates. As he got back into his car, four men who had been walking towards him attacked him and pushed him into his car.

One got into the front passenger seat, two got into the back and the fourth got into the driver’s seat with him.

“When I was pushed, my glasses fell and one sandal also came off,” he said.

He said the man in the driver’s seat tried to drive off, but the car was automatic and he could not move it.

“He kept revving the engine. Eventually, he put it into drive mode, but the vehicle went forward and not back. He then pushed the gear lever back to neutral and again the car would not go,” Aboobaker said.

The man then jumped into the back of the car and Aboobaker was ordered to drive.

Aboobaker said he was instructed to go to Edendale, but told the gang he did not know where to go and they directed him. The man in the passenger seat and the one behind him pointed guns at Aboobaker. At one intersection, he was ordered to drive through a red robot.

Aboobaker said when he passed the Engen garage near Woodhouse Road, he saw a police car parked there. Shortly thereafter he noticed the blue lights of a police vehicle travelling behind them along Woodhouse Road.

One of the hijackers told him to “go fast” and the other instructed him to slow down and allow the police to overtake.

The SAPS vehicle pulled up alongside and police spoke on a loudhailer ordering them to pull over.

“The guy on the back seat started shooting at the police and police shot back.” Aboobaker stopped the car.

Aboobaker said the hijacker in the passenger seat ducked down and he saw him firing a shot through the windscreen. He ordered Aboobaker to go with him and pulled him out of the car via the passenger door.

“We came out in a ditch. My shirt tore and I fell,” he said.

Aboobaker said the experience was “frightening”.

The case is proceeding.

ingriod@witness.co.za

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