Robbery, then a crash

2013-07-09 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG woman says she recognised the son of a local councillor as one of a group of men who held a knife to her neck and robbed her of a cellphone and cash last week.

She insists that Msunduzi councillor Thandi Matiwane’s son, Sanele (23), who was killed in a car accident the same night, was among her attackers.

Sanele died at the scene when the car he was driving collided with a Mercedes-Benz van near the low-level bridge at Sobantu.

Three friends in the vehicle were hospitalised, and one, Senzo Dlamini, later died of his injuries.

Matiwane, the ward councillor of Sobantu and the Mountain Rise ­area, told The Witness last week that authorities had to use the Jaws of Life to pull Sanele and his friends out of the car.

Police at the scene suspected the Toyota Corolla Sanele had been driving was stolen. It is believed the car had no licence plate or disc at the time. However, it later transpired that the car belonged to Sanele’s brother.

Earlier that evening, Sisie Cebekhulu was held up at St Patrick’s Road in Scottsville by men driving a Toyota ­Corolla.

Cebekhulu said she still has flashbacks and has been having sleepless nights since the incident.

“I can still see the knife they used when they were robbing me,” she said.

Cebekhulu, who works at the Pietermaritzburg high court, said she was robbed around 6.30 pm that night.

She was walking back to her flat after buying airtime when a car pulled off next to her. The occupants got out and conversed among themselves.

“I thought they were visiting someone at [the nearby block of flats], so I continued walking,” said Cebekhulu.

“The next thing one of them tapped me on my shoulder, demanding money and my cellphone. As I was telling them that I don’t have one, one pulled a long shiny knife and held it to my neck. I screamed and the security guard and people from the flats came out. The men rushed to the car and speedily drove towards New England Road.”

The men got away with her cellphone and some cash, and Cebekhulu was helped back to her flat.

“I cried and prayed in my room as I was scared. I could not phone my family as I did not have a phone. I couldn’t sleep that night. The image of the knife wouldn’t leave me. I keep asking myself what could have happened if they took me with them. Or if they had stabbed me.”

Cebekhulu reported the incident to the police and then tried to forget it.

However, she said she was forced to relive the nightmare a few days later, when she opened a newspaper to see the face of one of her attackers staring back at her.

It was a picture of Sanele on the front page of The Witness’ s sister paper Echo with a report on his death. She said she she certain he was among the attackers, saying he had jumped oout of the car and was close enough for her to see him clearly.

Sanele and Dlamini were buried on Sunday after a service at Mfenendala Community Hall in Sobantu, where cars were drifted around the coffins placed on the road outside.

Thandi Matiwane said Sanele had been driving at 140 km/h when he died, according to a report from his brother.

“My son loved cars. He was a member of the drag racing team that was spinning cars at the funeral on Sunday. Parents must admit that this is a sport and not the thing that is done by thugs,” she said.

Matiwane added that Sanele was not a “troublesome child” and that she had not been told of a robbery.

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