WATCH: 'I'm no hero' - Alberton woman who rammed her car into armed hijackers in her driveway
The 42-year-old woman from Alberton who rammed her vehicle into a gang of hijackers in her driveway says she's no hero.
She simply did what she thought best, to protect her teenage daughter who was with her in the car, she told News24.
Speaking to News24 on condition of anonymity, in fear for her family's safety, the woman said she was afraid the men would return to her home.
Her arm is swollen and badly bruised after the incident, which happened on the afternoon of Monday, August 27.
"My nine-month-old grandson would have been in the car with us, had it not been for a change of plans," she told News24, with tears welling up in her eyes.
CCTV footage of the incident was widely circulated on social media. Many people hailed her as a hero, while others called her stupid.
In part, these comments prompted her to set the record straight in a sit-down interview with News24.
A police investigation found the group of men had followed her home from the local mall on Monday morning. Unbeknownst to her, she was followed to three separate locations; the hijackers only made their move as she signalled to enter her driveway.
"I was ready to open the boot to my car, when I saw the white car behind us.
"I told my daughter, 'don't get out, just close your door'. When I saw the men approaching us, and I saw their guns, I told her, 'here comes trouble'."
'Those seconds felt like an eternity'
The woman says she pressed the panic button and was waiting for help to arrive, while doing her best to keep her 16-year-old daughter calm.
"I kept talking to her and I even turned the radio up, so she wouldn't hear the hammering of the gun against the window or their shouting.
"Those seconds felt like an eternity."
She wasn't planning on ramming into the men, but when her teenage daughter became increasingly rattled, she acted.
"Before I realised it, the car was in reverse," she told News24
The woman proceeded to ram the hijackers' Nissan Livina with her Jeep Cherokee.
"I thought if I could only ram them past the gate, we could close it behind us."
Adrenaline kicked in and she drove into them repeatedly.
"I remember seeing them running down the street."
Five suspects arrested
Her daughter sustained minor bruises and the family has been receiving trauma counselling.
The woman had to be helped from the car, as she was numb with shock.
"When I saw the video footage for the first time the following day, that's when I realised what I had done," she said.
According to police, five suspects were apprehended in Pretoria two days later, en route to commit a similar robbery.
The woman addressed two big questions from viewers of the video: Were the guns real? And what was the damage to her vehicle?
The weapons were indeed real, as a bullet casing was discovered on the property.
As for the damage to her vehicle, the cost amounts to roughly R150 000.
"My insurance will be paying out," she said.
The woman expressed sincere gratitude to the Alberton police, her neighbours and her security companies.