Durban: A spontaneous road trip turned into a nightmare for a Durban family, who was allegedly hijacked by robbers dressed in police uniform.
Sasha Naidoo, 29, her boyfriend, 30, aunt, 51, and cousin, 34, decided on Friday morning to travel to Johannesburg.
Sasha said her mother had celebrated her 56th birthday last week in Sandton with family and she wanted to drive up and surprise her.
They left home on Friday afternoon, and after passing a toll in Villiers on the N3 that night, her cousin, who was driving a Toyota Hilux double cab, was pulled over, by these bogus cops.
“There were flashing blue lights and had loud sirens. When we stopped, one of them approached the vehicle and asked my cousin for her driver's licence. While she reached for her handbag on the passenger side floor, the man put his hand inside the vehicle and unlocked the doors."
Naidoo said the second man, who was checking the vehicle's licence disc on the windscreen, then opened the passenger door where she (Naidoo) was seated.
“He said they were looking for drugs. But he grabbed our handbags and my cousin’s laptop bag and threw them on the road. Our hands were tied with cable, and my cousin and I were shoved into the back seat with my boyfriend and aunt.
"They then got into the driver and passenger seats, and two other men arrived and got into the back seat. They tied my boyfriend and aunt’s hands and pushed my cousin onto the floor while they sat on top of us. They then drove off.
"The men told us that if we complied, they would leave us. All we could do was pray. While my aunt was praying, one of them hit her. He said, 'you are a cheeky one, shut your mouth, or I will shoot you'. They then pulled our face masks over our eyes."
Naidoo said her boyfriend was also assaulted.
"They kept saying, 'you think you are the macho one with three ladies?'.
She said after a few hours, the men stopped the vehicle and got out.
“We thought it was finally over, but another group entered the vehicle. Their voices were different. It was like the actual hijacking was just starting. We begged them to leave us and take the vehicle. But these guys had no remorse. They threw our jackets over our heads. Eventually, we hit a gravel road. They pulled each one of us out and threw us against a sandbank."
Naidoo said the men searched her cousin’s vehicle.
“I think they were looking for the vehicle tracking device. One of them asked my cousin a lot of questions such as: Who does the vehicle belong to? If you go missing, who would look for you? What speed will your tracker pick you up if you are in trouble? How much do you pay for the vehicle and insurance a month?
“He also asked us how much cash we had in our handbags and in our bank accounts, why we were going to Johannesburg, and whether we had a gun."
Naidoo said another vehicle arrived.
“Unfortunately, we were not the only vehicle hijacked that night. A family of three, who was travelling from Johannesburg to their home in Durban, were apparently stopped in the same way. They arrived with another group of men, and the hijackers also searched their vehicle.”
Naidoo said her family called on her cellphone to check on their whereabouts.
"One of them told me to comply. He put the cellphone on speaker, and I had to tell my uncle that we were fine and on our way. My cousin also got calls from the vehicle tracking company. But she told the men to ignore it as they were probably spam calls.
"After searching my cousin’s vehicle, the men fled in the vehicle with our clothes, cellphones, handbags and the jewellery.
“While the second group tried to start the other family's vehicle, one of the men said, 'feed them their last drink, let them sleep as a family, and shoot them’. It was at that very moment that our saviour came racing into the field, leaving these guys with no time to react. They just started running in different directions."
Naidoo said the second family had two tracking devices on their vehicle, and Jaco Grobbelaar, from Tracker Connect, had received the signal.
“When Jaco arrived, I called my mom and family, and they rushed to our location in Vosloorus."
She said the five hour hijacking ordeal took an emotional toll on them.
"We are struggling to sleep as we constantly think of what could have been. But through it all, we were blessed with the most amazing family and friends, who have been our greatest support."
Naidoo said motorists needed to be vigilant on the N3.
"We live in a country where we cannot control anything. The mere fact that these guys hijacked two vehicles on the same night just tells you that this is an ongoing syndicate on the N3. It is sad and heartbreaking that this is what our beautiful country has come to."
Naidoo said her cousin’s vehicle has not be recovered.
Gauteng police and Tracker Connect had not commented at the time of publication.