Palmview church-goers robbed at gunpoint

The distraught family.

A Palmview family is counting their blessings after two armed gunmen stormed at their car, stole their cellphones, wallets and cash and fired one shot before leaving their home in the early hours of last Thursday.

Maggie Govender, 61, of Trent Palm, a pensioner and kitchen co-ordinator of Elim Senior Citizens Club who has been living in the area for almost three decades, said she and her family have become the latest victims of violent crime in the area for the second time in less than two weeks.

A distraught Govender, who is also a member of the Widows Support Group, said she was about to go for her monthly check-up to the local hospital when the incident unfolded. Govender said the robbery happened about 6:45 am when she took her car out of the yard to go to the hospital.

Govender said, “It was a usual day and I reversed my Toyota Corolla out of the yard to go to hospital. I had my three grandchildren with me as they also receive medical treatment for epilepsy. My daughter was busy closing the gate when one of the robbers pounced at her demanding money, keys and jewellery. At that point, I was not aware of what was happening until she started screaming for our safety. She became hysterical and continuously screamed for help to alert our neighbours. Suddenly I found myself confronted by a second robber, who also demanded cash, jewellery and the keys to the car. He entered from the passenger side and jammed me. I started panicking but kept thinking of God and his miraculous powers. The vivid picture of the robber’s face is still etched in my mind. My daughter told me to leave but I could not. I was also concerned for her safety. There was a tussle between us and the robbers. After we put up a brave fight, the robbers backed off. My daughter tried to follow them into the bush but they fired one shot and ran off towards the opposite end. Besides my jewellery that I was wearing which was stolen, I also had about two thousand in cash to pay some accounts which was also snatched by the robbers.”

Janice Govender points to the direction of the vacant land that has become a haven for criminals.

Janice Govender points to the direction of the vacant land that has become a haven for criminals.

Govender said that this was not the first time that she was a victim of a robbery. “Less than two weeks ago, I was robbed in my driveway but this time; I was on my way to church. In this instance, they also took valuables including my bible casing,” said Govender.

Govender’s daughter, Janice Govender, 37, a housewife, said the vacant land next to their home is a hideout for criminals and therefore makes them (the Govenders) easy targets of crime.

Janice said, “We have written various letters and petitions to council to have the place fenced and more police patrols but to date, nothing has been done. We are sitting ducks in our own homes and unless the municipality tackles the problem, the criminals will use the open park as a thoroughfare and will continue to attack defenseless people especially the aged and young children. We need to rally and mobilise our community in the fight against crime in our area. We cannot let the criminals take over our communities and streets. Every day we read in newspapers of the high crime in the area until we become victims of crime, then we want to mobilise our community. We cannot live selfish lives anymore. We need to be pro-active and take the fight to the criminals. It starts with us.”

  AUTHOR
Vivaga Thambiran
News editor

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