Pastor weeps as hijacked woman dies in his car in mercy ride

2012-02-07 00:00

EMPANGENI — A hijacking victim died in her pastor’s car as he rushed her to hospital yesterday.

Ernest Nzuza of the Latter Rain Church International said he would not easily forget the scene.

He arrived shortly after hijackers shot Velaphi Biyela, a teacher and a member of his congregation, three times yesterday morning.

“I am a 60-year-old man, but when I got there and saw the horrific scene and the children crying I felt the tears dropping from my eyes in front of children.”

He said Biyela’s husband, who manages three of his church’s branches, phoned him for help after hearing his wife had been attacked near her home. The husband was in Richards Bay.

Nzuza said he found Biyela on the ground, bleeding profusely. Her children and other schoolchildren whom she was shot in front of were crying hysterically.

“This was the most callous act of violence I have ever seen. They shot her several times for a car in front of her young children. They did not even give her a chance to get out so they could take the car.

“They simply blocked her way and when she opened the window to ask them to move, they shot her and when she staggered to the ground they took her car and drove off. There were children inside the car who had to jump out,” he said.

Two men were arrested within hours of the hijacking after quick work by police, two vehicle recovery companies and Zululand Business Against Crime. The vehicle and a firearm were recovered.

A spokesperson speaking on behalf of Tracker and Cartrack vehicle recovery firms based in Zululand, who asked not to be named for professional reasons, said a helicopter was used to search for Biyela’s van. It was recovered at noon in Ongoye Reserve, about 50 km from the hijacking site.

He said the Hyundai H100 had been partially stripped. The resident of the property where the vehicle was parked was questioned and might be charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

After several residents were questioned the suspects were arrested at about 4 pm while drinking in a shebeen near the University of Zululand.

A .38 Special revolver was found with three discharged cartridges in its chamber.

Police spokesperson Captain Mbongeni Mdlalose said it was not clear whether more arrests would be made.

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