‘Street kids’ rob elderly in bus

2014-02-20 00:00

A GROUP of senior citizens were left traumatised after the bus taking them to the Verulam Day Care Centre was stopped and robbed by a large group of youths in Cottonlands yesterday.

Director of the Verulam Day Care Centre Pravin Patak said 16 senior citizens were being taken to the centre in the centre’s 22-seater bus driven by Thulani Mhlongo.

The bus was surrounded by 40 to 60 youths in Cottonlands, said Patak.

“The driver decided it would be better to stop than drive on through them. But when he did so, one of the fellows got into the bus, turned off the ignition and took the key.”

Others got into the bus, and began demanding cash and valuables from the elderly passengers.

They also demanded the driver take them to Durban, claiming they were street children who had been removed from the Durban CBD in a recent “clean-up” by the Durban Metro Police.

Mhlongo told them he was going in the other direction, to Ndwedwe, and appealed to the youths to leave the elderly passengers alone.

After some discussion, the youths returned the ignition key and left the bus. They took two cellphones, one from Mhlongo and the other from a passenger, in addition to R5,50 from another passenger.

Patak said the passengers were traumatised when they eventually arrived at the centre.

According to Martin Xaba, head of eThekwini’s Safer Cities Unit, no such “clean up” of street children by the metro police has taken place. This was also confirmed by an official at iCare, an NGO working with street children.

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