Hijacker drove like an idiot - victim
Jonathan Erasmus, Zululand Fever
Richards Bay - A combined effort by the public, SAPS and private security saw a hijacker arrested and the vehicle recovered just hours after an armed robbery in Northern KwaZulu-Natal.
On Thursday, Dick Robinson, 69, a resident of the north coast holiday village Mtunzini, had stopped to "pick granadillas" alongside the R102 between Mtunzini and Empangeni near the Umlalazi River bridge when two men, one armed, emerged "from nowhere" and hijacked him at about 12:00 with traffic flowing past.
Just two hours later the vehicle was apprehended and one suspect arrested after he was shot in the foot while trying to runaway.
The suspect, who is currently under police guard at Ngwelezane Hospital in Empangeni, is expected to appear in Hluhluwe Magistrate's Court on Monday.
Robinson, a retired owner of truck haulage company, said he was making his way back to his car, when the suspects, both in their late twenties appeared "from nowhere".
"My suspicion is they were dropped off by another vehicle as there was nowhere for them to have come from. I had only been on the side of the road for about five minutes and was in the full view of the traffic.
"Only the one guy was armed. He cocked the 9mm pistol ordering me to lie flat on the ground so that the passing traffic couldn't see what was going on. When there was a break in the traffic they bundled me in to the back of my vehicle," said Robinson who owns a 2010 Toyota Hilux double cab.
With Robinson sitting in the back seat and both suspects in front, one with the firearm faced at Robinson, the hijackers sped off northbound in the direction of Empangeni.
"The guys were aggressive but didn't hit me or threaten to kill me but the driver did drive like an idiot and nearly flipped the van shortly after pulling off.
"We got near to the University of Zululand when the driver veered right onto a track and drove into the Port Durnford forestry plantations. They then grabbed me by my shoulders and carried me into a bushy area where they bound my legs and arms together with rope and my shoelaces.
"They didn't say much to me and I didn't protest telling them to take what they wanted and leave me alone. I can speak Zulu but at no point did I let them know this as I wanted to hear what they were saying.
"I was bound fairly tight and I thought I would be sleeping in the forest or at best be able to hop and find help but on the first attempt I somehow pulled my one arm loose, untied myself and found a woman who only had R3 on her phone which she let me use.
"I managed to phone my wife to tell I was okay and to ask my son to alert Tracker [Vehicle Recovery]," said Robinson.
However before Robinson's call to Tracker could be relayed they already knew, says Tracker Zululand liaison officer Wynand Swart.
"A man had witnessed the hijacking in progress and phoned our offices. We alerted everyone to be on the lookout for the double cab. We eventually picked up the vehicle on the N2 near KwaMbonambi' said Swart.
"The vehicle turned off at Hluhluwe and kept on heading northbound on the R22 heading towards Mbazwana [near Sodwana Bay] when private firm Alpha Security Farm Watch pulled up alongside the Toyota. One of the suspects pointed a firearm at them and there was an exchange of gunfire.
"Eventually the hijackers were forced off the road, hit a bump and were airborne for about 5m landing straight in the bush," said Swart.
While the suspects tried to escape one was shot in the foot and immobilised while the second disappeared into the thick brush.
SAPS spokesperson Captain Jabulani Mdletshe said they are still searching for the second suspect and hope to make an arrest soon.