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Victim relives Mzansi Express hijack horror

by Bongani Ndlovu
05 Jul 2016 at 06:59hrs | Views
A WOMAN who says she was robbed of R22,450, $150 and a cellphone in an armed hold up of a Mzansi Express bus at Sasol Service Station in South Africa, yesterday said one of the robbers could be a petrol attendant at the station.

Armed robbers pounced on the bus at around 3AM at the Sasol Filling Station, about 20KM outside Musina as armed robberies on buses carrying Zimbabweans to South Africa intensify.

One of the four hijackers was shot dead in a scuffle with a passenger who refused to hand over his belongings during last Friday's robbery.

The passenger, who is still to be identified, is said to be admitted to Musina Hospital.

Ms Tsanangurayi Zvenyika (41), a widowed mother of two from Bulawayo's Morningside suburb, yesterday told The Chronicle: "I remember the robber who frisked me had a long nose, round face and reeked of cigarettes.

"When I was being robbed, the knife wielding one reeked of cigarettes. In the afternoon, when I passed one of the fuel attendants, he smelt of the same cigarettes and had the same facial features. All this I told police who took our statements."

"Two shots went off and they (officials at the garage) didn't come to our aid. The ordeal lasted more than 30 minutes. It was only after the bus conductor went to alert them after the robbers were gone, that they came to help us."

A manager at the Service Station, Mr Stewart Khumalo, challenged Ms Zvenyika to come to the service station and identify the person she thinks robbed her.

Chronicling her harrowing ordeal, Ms Zvenyika said she was molested by a knife-wielding robber.

She said she was terrified because she was the first passenger the armed men robbed.

"I had put R22,450 and $150 in a short that I was wearing under my jeans. He touched me all over the body with cold hands. I felt like dying as he got hold of my thighs," said Ms Zvenyika.

She said the man roughly grabbed her panties, flung her up and turned her around.

"I couldn't even open my mouth to scream as I felt his hands on my breasts. He took two cellphones that I had stuffed either side of my bra," said Ms Zvenyika.

The memory, she said, still traumatises her.

"He then proceeded to rob the bus conductor of R5,000. I still couldn't scream as my mouth was dry because of fear," said Ms Zvenyika.

She said the money was all she had and she lives off cross border trading.

"This is what I've been doing to sustain my two children and the money I've lost is too much. I hope that I get compensated by the bus company because I guess they have passenger insurance for them to ply that route and to cover their business if such things happen," said Ms Zvenyika.

Mzansi Express Bulawayo manager Mr Fezile Mangena was vague when The Chronicle contacted him for comment.

"We're still investigating what transpired. We're consulting with people who've encountered such problems to map a way forward. When we get something concrete we shall inform the passengers on what course of action we'll take," said Mr Mangena.

South African police spokesperson Colonel Ronnel Otto said investigations were underway.

"The robbers approached the bus and robbed passengers of their money and their belongings. One suspect shot his friend dead as he tried to shoot a passenger who was refusing to hand over his belongings," said Col Otto.

She said police were still trying to identify the dead robber and three of his colleagues were still at large.

Last month, a mob allegedly burnt an Eagle Liner bus transporting 21 Zimbabweans from Bulawayo to Johannesburg and robbed them of their valuables.

The unruly crowd was allegedly protesting the ruling ANC's decision to field Ms Thoko Didiza as the party's mayoral candidate for Tshwane in the forthcoming local government elections.

In April last year, 48 Zimbabweans endured a four-hour hijack horror aboard an Intercape bus in that country. Four pistol and rifle-wielding men got away with cash, cellphones and gadgets worth tens of thousands of dollars when they commandeered the Bulawayo/Johannesburg bus near Hammanskraal at around 3.30AM. No one was injured in the robbery.

In May the same year, two Zimbabwean buses were attacked by armed highway robbers in South Africa.

The buses, Eagle Liner and Citiliner, which were headed for Johannesburg, were attacked within a space of two days.

Source - chronicle

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