Survivor wants justice for friend

2019-10-16 06:02
Jevon Bloem (22) who survived after he was forced to jump off a 15-metre bridge. His friend Bandile Gana died during the incident.PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile

Jevon Bloem (22) who survived after he was forced to jump off a 15-metre bridge. His friend Bandile Gana died during the incident.PHOTO: nokuthula khanyile

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A PIETERMARITZBURG man whose friend was killed when they were kidnapped and forced to jump off a 15-meter-high bridge says he had said his last prayer and was prepared to die.

Jevon Bloem (22) and his friend Bandile Gana (22) were kidnapped outside a tavern in Eastwood at the weekend after they were suspected of theft.

The pair had been accused of breaking into a tavern patron’s vehicle and stealing a laptop and cell phone.

Two people have since been arrested in connection with the “vigilante” incident. Bloem described how one of the assailants had pulled him to his feet, pointed a gun at him at arm’s length and pulled the trigger several times, but the gun did not go off.

The attack took place along the Umgeni River near Albert Falls on Saturday night. Gana’s body was recovered by the SA police search and rescue unit on Sunday.

Bloem told The Witness that he, Gana and other friends had been sitting at the tavern when the attack happened. He said one of their friends had gone outside to urinate.

Moments later, the friend returned inside the tavern with a man holding a firearm to his head.

“He asked if this boy was sitting with us and we said yes. The uncle said someone had smashed his car window and stolen his valuables. We tried explaining to him that it was not us, that there were two other boys standing outside, but he didn’t want to listen.”

Bloem said when the man forced them to get into his vehicle, the two friends had tried to resist the gunman but feared that they were going to be killed. “We told him we know the two boys that were standing outside the tavern and he pointed a gun at me and Bandile and told us to jump inside his car to look for the two boys. We couldn’t find the two boys and he started hitting us with the gun.”

Bloem said the man drove to Cinderella Park where he fetched his friends and then the pair were driven towards Cramond.

He said the assailant, who was travelling in a white VW Polo, had said he was going to kill them and demanded that they produce the stolen items.

When the pair arrived at the Umgeni River bridge, they were told to put their hands on their heads.

“He pulled the trigger three times. The gun did not fire. When he tried pulling the trigger for the fourth time, I jumped into the river.”

He said Gana followed and plunged down from the bridge spinning.

“I saw him in the air flipping. I thought maybe he had been shot because he didn’t jump like me.

“I tried looking for him and I couldn’t find him.”

At that stage he did not know if his friend was dead or alive. Bloem said he waited for the gunman and his friends to leave before he walked to the nearest police station to ask for help.

“I called for him [Gana] but couldn’t see him. I have known Bandile since I was small. I just want justice to be served.”


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