Witness tells court about eSikhaleni hostage ordeal

A WITNESS in the long running trial of armed robbery accused Bongumusa Shabalala (35), last week relayed the chilling details of an armed robbery and hostage situation involving his family in 2013.

Describing the ordeal in the Richards Bay Magistrate’s Court last week, the victim told the court how on 8 April 2013 he was confronted by an armed suspect in his driveway, and later held hostage with his family inside their eSikhaleni home for hours.

The father was on his way to a church service at 6pm when approached by the gunman, who demanded the vehicle’s keys.

The suspect then forced him inside the house where he noticed two more gunmen with his wife, three children and their helper.

The family were forced into the lounge area and instructed not to look at the suspects.

‘They cleaned out my pockets, took some cash, my bank card and all our cellphones.’

The first suspect (Shabalala) then left and drove off with the family’s bakkie.

The family was held hostage for four hours by the two remaining gunmen, during which time Shabalala withdrew R3 000 from the victim’s bank account.

No violence occurred during the ordeal and the suspects even told the family to relax, while their cellphones and laptops were stored in their bedroom cupboard and later found.

They fled with some clothing items, a DVD player and designer bags.

More than 50 witnesses, including children, are giving testimony in the case against Shabalala, who faces 53 serious counts.

The case was remanded to 1 August for cross examination of the witness.


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Conelia Harry

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