Durban - A one-year-old toddler was pulled “like a rag doll” during a tussle between a robber and the child’s traumatised mother at their Durban home this week, her husband said on Wednesday.
The couple believe that the robber and his two accomplices may have wanted the child for muti, as the attackers did not seem to want cash, jewellery or cellphones from their house in Bonela. They have requested anonymity as they fear for their safety.
They suspect the trio had been waiting on the roof of the double-storey house on Tuesday morning for the boy’s grandparents to leave, before jumping on to the balcony.
“My parents left home at noon, and I had called my wife telling her to make sure she kept all the doors locked,” said the man, who was at work at the time.
“She had just gone out on to the balcony to fetch something and when she turned around to go back inside, three men were standing there and one of them pushed her into the sliding door.”
He said they took her inside to where the child was sitting in his feeding chair.
“She ran to grab [our] son and they grabbed him from her. One of them asked if there were any other children in the house.
“He went into the bedroom and overturned the blankets while another stayed with my wife, hitting her and grabbed her neck saying, ‘I’ll kill you’.”
His wife then managed to get hold of her cellphone and dialled her husband, who was in a meeting. But before she could speak to him, he said one of the assailants grabbed the cellphone and threw it away.
“Somehow, she then wrestled with one of the men to get hold of our son, grabbed our house keys, ran down the long flight of stairs to my aunt’s house nearby,” he said. His aunt called the police.
By the time police from the Mayville SAPS arrived, the suspects had fled.
“The police had said it did not make sense that they broke in and didn’t take anything. They did not know if the men wanted to kidnap our son for a ransom, but said it could have been for muti purposes because there was no motive.”
“My wife said to me she didn’t remember how she opened the lock to the gate, because later it was found in pieces. She said it all happened so quickly that she cannot remember what the men looked like or if they were armed. I think she was acting on adrenalin.”
“She was extremely brave to fight them off. I just thank God she managed to escape with our son.”
He said his wife was too traumatised to speak to the Daily News, and a day later is beginning to feel the bruises all over her body. Their son, he said, also had bruises, as he was pulled “like a rag doll” during the tussle.
“My wife battled to sleep [on Tuesday night] and would often wake up screaming, thinking someone was attacking her,” he said. “This was the second time she had been attacked. The first was before we married. She was assaulted and her neck and wrists were slit. This is now too much for her.”
The husband said he had read of cases in the Overport and Pinetown areas of children being abducted.
Police spokesman Captain Thulani Zwane said a case of attempted house robbery was being investigated.
He said there were no other reported cases of child abduction in Bonela, and that the latest provincial crime statistics would be released later this year.
According to the previous statistics, KZN has had the second highest number of reported cases of kidnapping in the country since 2003, with the number rising each year. There were 686 cases reported in 2008/9, 769 in 2009/2010 and 839 in 2010/2011.
Writing on SA Institute of Security Studies (ISS) findings in 2007, researchers said South Africa, in spite of being one of the most developed societies in Africa, had a frighteningly high rate of muti slaying.
Talking about kidnappings on the ISS website, Dr Anthony Minnaar said: “We have children going missing every week from our townships. The assumption is that those missing children are being put into prostitution and also that they are being used for muti murder.”
In June 2007, two families in Phoenix reported that they believed kidnappers had targeted their children for muti purposes. The police could not confirm either.
In December 2007, a 17-year-old was sentenced in the Durban High Court to 23 years in jail for killing and beheading seven-year-old Vuyani Khanyile.
It is believed it was a muti-related murder as the minor was told he would be paid R20 000 for a child’s head. - Daily News