Widow tells of doomed hijack bid

2012-05-08 00:00

WIDOW Pratishta Acharrie described in the high court in Pietermaritzburg yesterday how two hijackers shot and dragged her husband, Kush, out of their modified BMW car early one morning in 2010 and threw him on to the road.

When one of them could not start the car because he did not have the neccessary ignition code, he demanded to know where her “boyfriend’s” gun was.

“I told him it’s on him and he then took out a cloth … He wiped the steering wheel and the dashboard … he was also searching the car. The other guy asked me where my phone is and I told him it’s in my bag. I gave it to him,” said Acharrie.

Both men went over to where her husband lay. She did not look, but believed they were searching for his gun.

She later found they also took his wallet containing R700, bank cards and a firearm licence.

Acharrie said that when the attackers fled she ran to her husband and called out his name. He was “gasping for breath”.

Frightened that the men would come back for her, she got back in the car and drove to a garage owned by friends and sought help. An ambulance was summoned and paramedics tried to rescusitate her husband, but she was told he had died.

The attack happened in the early hours of October 21, 2010, in St Andrew’s Street in the Pietermaritzburg CBD outside the garage owned by her husband, a KwaZulu-Natal drag racer and qualified BMW mechanic who specialised in modifying vehicles for drag racing.

Acharrie told Acting Judge Igna Stretch and assessors that she and her husband had gone out that night to celebrate her birthday. The couple had a two-month-old baby at the time.

They have two children.

She was giving evidence at the trial of Mondli Maphanga (24) and Solethu Maduna (33), who are charged with Kush Acharrie’s murder and robbery and other offences.

Both accused pleaded not guilty and claim to have alibis for the time of the crimes.

One of the other charges they face is that of hijacking Lema Tabiso and robbing him of his Toyota Corolla during the afternoon of October 21, 2010, in Scots Street in Pietermaritzburg.

Moreoa Molefe, an alleged accomplice in some of the crimes, including the attack on the Acharries, has begun testifying for the state in the case. He told the court that he was with the two accused when they saw the Acharries’ red BMW parked at a Caltex garage in Commercial Road.

He said Maphanga interrupted him during an argument about who would go into the shop to comment: “That BMW’s beautiful.”

The case is proceeding.

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