Couple caught in robbers’ crosshairs

iol news pic NS CHECKSTAR MALL15 INDEPENDENT MEDIA A cash-in-transit vehicle was involved in two shootings after a getaway car emerged from the CheckStar supermarkets shopping area. Picture: Bongani Mbatha.

Durban - An uMhlanga couple fled the scene of a robbery in Phoenix this week, only to be chased by the robbers and shot at, leaving the husband seriously injured.

This was after an armed robbery in Whitehouse Shopping Centre saw robbers randomly opening fire in the car park on Thursday.

His wife, in a telephone interview with The Independent on Saturday, in which she declined to give their names, said the robbers pursued them to Glen Anil.

Unable to reach them at a point where traffic was dense, they started shooting, she said.

“My husband was shot in the upper thigh. He was hit three times.”

She said he eventually lost consciousness.

“Medics found a man in a critical condition, he was stabilised and then transported to a hospital in uMhlanga,” said Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha.

The wife said on Friday her husband was in a stable condition.

“After we left the supermarket, he decided to go fast but the car following us started to go faster.” She denied he had tried to pursue the gunmen, as had been reported.

The husband was one of four people injured after the incident.

At the shopping centre, a terrified security guard told how the balaclava-clad gunmen shot wildly in the parking lot.

Skumbuzo Mwandla confessed to fleeing his post guarding a gate into the CheckStar supermarket at the back of the Whitehouse Shopping Centre.

“A (getaway) car came through here,” he said.

He sheltered at a housing complex on a neighbouring property.

Minutes earlier, the robbers held up the shop, co-inciding with the arrival of armed personnel from an armoured cash-in-transit vehicle, prompting an exchange of gunfire.

The driver of the cash-in-transit vehicle made a hasty exit from the parking lot, only to be caught up in a second shoot-out about 100m away, close to the R102, Zwane added.

The robbers made off with an undisclosed amount of money.

A lorry delivering bottled water and pet food was also caught up in the shoot out.

Lorry owner Risha Chotalall said her driver’s assistant had been injured and taken to the Mahatma Gandhi Memorial hospital. She had rushed to the scene from her Mayville office.

Botha said around 30 people had been “severely traumatised”.

Hawkers outside the shopping centre also spoke of fleeing their stalls on hearing the gunshots.

“I didn’t know if the gun was facing me,” said Seth Yeboah, a cobbler from Ghana. “I ran towards the shops.”

Another hawker said she had taken cover behind a parked vehicle.

“I am still scared,” she said an hour afterwards. “What if they had come this side?

“I didn’t want to pop my head up to see what was happening. Maybe they would have blown my face off.”

The two getaway cars were identified as a silver-grey Nissan X3 and a white Volkswagen Polo.

Independent on Saturday

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