Tunnel is dangerous, warns mugging victim

2008-08-18 00:00

PRINCESS Mkhize (25) is lucky to be alive after being attacked and robbed two weeks ago, but she wants something to be done about the tunnel near the Liberty Midlands Mall where she was attacked.

Mkhize is a domestic worker in the Chasedene area. She said that many people who work in that area, as well as those who work at the Liberty Mall, use the tunnel under the freeway as a short-cut to get to Retief Street for transport.

She said she was walking alone on the day of the attack because an acquaintance who often accompanies her had other commitments.

“I often walk to try save money and since we can’t walk on the freeway and the route through town is much longer, we use the tunnel. I have always been afraid to walk alone, but I didn’t have a choice [on that day].”

She continued: “As I was walking through the tunnel, one man was coming on the opposite side and he started talking to me. I ignored him, but then he grabbed me.

“Suddenly, two other guys jumped out from nowhere. One punched me on my left eye and while I was crying and holding my eye, another one slapped me on my right cheek,” she added.

Her attackers made off with R300, R210 of which was a social grant payment for her 11-year-old child, as well as a Nokia cellphone.

While she is happy to be alive, she deeply regrets losing her child’s grant.

Mkhize said the two police officers dispatched to help her after she had called 10111 from a public phone told her they couldn’t help her much since her attackers had fled.

“They just told me to have my eye checked out because it was red and swollen. It was also bleeding. I had to ask them for money to get to the clinic, but they really looked like they were in a rush …”

Mkhize was so shaken up by the incident, she even considered resigning as she fears for her life.

However, that is a luxury the 25-year-old cannot afford.

She said she is the breadwinner for nine people, including her mother, her siblings and their children.

“I think that tunnel needs to be totally closed down. It is not worth the risk. I will personally never use it again.”

Police spokeswoman Superintendent Joey Jeevan said there have not been any reported incidents in that area for the last three months.

However, she advised people to report incidents so police can act on eliminating such crimes.

sphumem@witness.co.za

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