Armed robbers hit NFP leader's house

Jeff Wicks, The Witness

Durban - Three robbers broke into Science and Technology Deputy Minister Zanele Magwaza-Msibi's plush Umhlanga residence and held her daughter at knife-point on Wednesday morning.

The robbers got away with a large amount of cash from a concealed safe, leaving the house “upside down” as they pillaged the National Freedom Party leader’s home for loot.

The balaclava-clad intruders reportedly demanded the code to the electronic safe from Magwaza-Msibi’s daughter while threatening her with knives. The politician was not at home at the time.

A ditched iPhone has been recovered and a domestic worker has been taken in for questioning.

The robbers had discarded the iPhone on Umhlanga Rocks Drive, where cyclist Donald Ensor saw its reflection and stopped to pick it up.

“I have quite a bright light on my bicycle and while I was riding I saw this phone lying in the road near the pavement. I picked it up and put it in my pocket; I didn’t even look if it was on,” he said.

“When it rang, I answered it and was told it had been taken in a robbery. I handed it into the police station when I was done with the ride,” Ensor added.

'Traumatic experience'

The politician reportedly boarded an early flight from Cape Town back to Durban after news of the robbery reached her.

In a statement, the National Freedom Party president said the robbery happened at around 03:45.

“Two men armed with knives and one of them wearing a balaclava broke into my house. They broke down my door and went into the bathroom and left everything upside down,” she said.

“It’s a very traumatic experience and my daughter, who was at the house at the time, is still in shock and traumatised.

“While I am grateful that my daughter was not hurt, as a mother, I cannot imagine the trauma she went through as she was accosted by armed men.

“This incident demonstrates the high levels of crime in our country,” she added.

“They took valuables. At the moment, we do not want to speculate and will allow police to do their work,” she said, not elaborating on how much was stolen.

Inside knowledge

A police source close to the investigation said that a domestic worker was being questioned.

“It is apparent that the intruders knew about the existence of the safe and that points to them having a knowledge of the home and its contents,” he said.

He added that use of a balaclava to conceal their faces indicated that they could be known to the family.

“The iPhone is able to pinpoint the location and these guys were smart, they would rather throw it away than be caught.”

Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said no arrests had been made yet.

- The Witness
Akhenaten 2014-07-31 09:07:01 AM
It is nice to be rich but in S.Africa it has become dangerous.
Jacqui Daane Van Rensburg 2014-07-31 09:10:09 AM
Deal with it, like the rest of us have to do.
FastnEasy Loans 2014-07-31 09:10:46 AM
Concealed Safe - must be inside Job
Eugene Fourie 2014-07-31 09:12:42 AM
So criminals targeting criminals now...
Evelyn Matohlang Modiegi Sebidi 2014-07-31 09:15:32 AM
Mmh, large amount of cash in the house?
Lynn O'Shea Comley-White 2014-07-31 09:21:41 AM
The only time the government will do something about crime is when their own members get attacked and victimised like the rest of the citizens of S A. So, from my point of view, although I don't want to see anyone hurt or killed, go for it, robbers!!
Ricky Singh 2014-07-31 09:23:40 AM
Does this not show a twisted violence ridden society with no moral compass.That there is a seemingly violent way to earn easy money is indicative of South Africa on a steady slide to chaos and a lawless society.
Louis Visser 2014-07-31 09:25:13 AM
Piles & piles of cash, I am sure
Joan Finch 2014-07-31 09:32:55 AM
Does the violence ever stop when
Nkosingiphile Ngubane 2014-07-31 09:33:35 AM
And somehow knew there was a safe in the house with money in it...R500 000 to be exact(according to other newspapers)! Sometimes our helpers become criminal helpers. I hope she's innocent because if not, than she will pay for the crime she helped others commit and they will be long gone with the money...