Home invasion ordeal

2010-05-27 00:00

KZN Social Development MEC Meshack Radebe’s daughter was held at gunpoint by three intruders at her home in River Mead complex, Lincoln Meade, early yesterday morning.

It was the fourth break-in at the complex this week.

Nomalungelo “Geyo” Radebe (27) was at home alone when three men entered her house at about 3 am. It is not clear how the men gained entry.

The only broken window, in the kitchen, has a hole in it the size of a fist, and the spaces between the burglar bars on the window are not big enough to fit an adult head through.

Radebe said the men woke her up in her bedroom at about 3 am, one pointing a gun at her and the other wielding a knife. She could not see what the third man was carrying.

She said they told her exactly what they were looking for.

“I was shocked and afraid for my life because they seemed to know what I owned.

“None of this made sense because the doors were locked and the windows closed when I went to bed,” said Radebe.

The three made off with three wristwatches — one of which was found along the pre-cast fencing — two laptops, an expensive pair of shoes, a television set, two cellphones, a home theatre system and two car DVD LCDs.

When the men had gathered the loot, they demanded her car keys. One packed her belongings for them to take with them while the others guarded her to make sure she did not escape. One of them said that Radebe should accompany them to where they stay, but that idea was abandoned.

Radebe suspects that the men escaped by jumping over the backyard wall and moving into the thick bushes.

She alerted the neighbours at about 6 am, who then helped her call her father.

“I don’t know what to make of this, but all I know is that I can’t stay in a place with such horrific memories.

“To be held in my own bedroom by men at that time is too much,” she said.

The MEC was visibly shaken, thanking God that his daughter was not harmed.

“I’m grateful that they didn’t rape her and that they didn’t take her with them because anything could have happened. My opinion is that this is the doing of someone who knows my daughter.

“It’s not a coincidence that all that they demanded, my daughter had. She can’t stay here. She’s packing her belongings and will be going back home today,” said the MEC.

Radebe, a deputy manager with an institutional capacity building firm which is a component of her father’s Social Development Department since late 2008, has been living in the house for about three months now.

The chairperson of the body corporate committee at the complex, Tracy Kossmann, said the electric fencing around the complex was tampered with in the early hours of Saturday morning.

“We are sitting ducks for robbers. This is the fourth housebreaking in three days, and it’s bad because these thugs break in while there are people in the houses.

“We have called a meeting with Natal Properties, the overseer of the complex, to discuss a way to solve the problem,” said Kossmann.

Armed robberies are common in the Lincoln Meade area, with robbers striking mostly in the early hours of the morning.

A community watch member who asked not to be named said that last Thursday two men robbed a family at gunpoint. They gained entry through a window in the early hours of the morning and demanded money and valuables.

“They told the husband and wife that they meant no harm … As they were about to leave, the family sounded the alarm and community members responded, leading to the robbers firing two shots at the crowd,” said the member.

Police spokesperson Captain Thulani Zwane said the means of entry into Radebe’s house could not be established since the burglar bars had not been tampered with.

“It’s not a coincidence that all that they demanded, my daughter had. MEC Meshack Radebe, father

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