Robbers shoot at KZN campers

2010-06-17 09:02

Johannesburg - A group of Gauteng holidaymakers woke up to the sound of shots on Tuesday night when robbers fired at their caravans at a camp site on the KwaZulu-Natal North Coast.

A security guard was shot in the leg and the robbers got away with cellphones, cameras and thousands of rands.

Willie Maartens, 40, from Roodepoort, said he and family members had been camping in three caravans and several tents at Gwalagwala camp site in the St Lucia Wetland Park since Saturday.

The three families were sleeping when gunshots woke them up at about 00:15 on Wednesday morning.

Caravan 'riddled'

"The (bullets) pierced our caravans. The guards found the robbers while they were looting our cars and a gunfight ensued."

It is believed there were three robbers.

Maartens said it was only by the grace of God that no-one in his family was hurt or killed.

"If some of the people had been lying asleep on the other side of their caravan, they would have been killed. The caravans were riddled (with bullets).

"It is terrible to have something like this happen when you really only want to relax and get away from it all."

They also found cartridges in the tent where some of the children were sleeping.

"The children are upset but I think their mothers are even more traumatised."

The robbers presumably broke into some of the caravans, stole car keys and then started to steal from the cars.

This was when the camp's two security guards found them.

Upset and shocked

Camp manager, Thulani Bruce Mbonambi, confirmed the incident.

He said the security guard's ankle was broken by the impact of the bullet, but he was out of danger and in a local hospital.

Mbonambi said he had worked at the resort since 1999.

"Something like this has never happened here. Burglaries and theft, yes, but it is the first time that there has been shooting. I am upset and shocked."

Maartens said police arrived quickly after the incident.

The group decided not to end their holiday. "This is South Africa after all!" Maartens jokingly said on Wednesday.

"Where else would we go? It's not as if we are safer at home!"

A police spokesperson could not be reached for comment on Wednesday night.