Gauteng children's home feels brunt of crime

2016-11-18 13:09
Thea Jarvis (Netwerk24)

Thea Jarvis (Netwerk24)

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Johannesburg - The director of a Gauteng children's home has told Netwerk24 how terrified she was when robbers shoved the barrel of a gun into her mouth and demanded that she tell them where the safe was.

To make matters even worse for Thea Jarvis of the TLC Children's Home near the Eikenhof informal settlement, south of Johannesburg, a few days later, some of the older children at the home were abducted and assaulted by kidnappers who made off in a hijacked ambulance.

Gauteng police say four children were abducted while the home says three children were taken in the incident. News24 reported that they were later rescued after a shootout between the police and the kidnappers.

Jarvis said the robbers had stolen R17 000 but she was just relieved that no one had been injured.

"The money had been meant for a new pump," she said.

Jarvis said two foreign volunteers were tied up when the robbers struck and started looking for the safe.

"Someone shook me awake in the early hours of the morning and then handcuffed me. A man held a gun to my head and later shoved it into my mouth, demanding to know where the safe was," she said.

There were 60 children aged between five days and 18 years in the home at the time.

"When the man, who insisted all the time that that I tell him where the safe is, eventually took the gun out of my mouth, I screamed as loudly as possible." 

Jarvis believes her screams scared off the robbers.

Volunteers scared off

"I prayed that my boys would hear me. They immediately stormed down the stairs and drove away the robbers."

Twelve adopted children live on the smallholding with Jarvis, who says she is considering closing down the home and moving although she admits it would be just as bad anywhere else.

"I'm sick and tired of the crime, but it follows one wherever you go. I'm no longer safe, and my 60 children's safety was in jeopardy. That is not nice to know."

Two security companies have offered to keep an eye on the children's home.

"People are supporting us and there are indications that we might be fitting stronger doors and beefing up security measures.

"I'm not a coward, but you mustn't threaten the safety of my children."

She said incidents such as this scared off foreign volunteers.

"One girl packed her bags and left this morning. We need them."

The three children who were kidnapped are receiving trauma counselling after their ordeal.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  crime

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