South Africa’s Transport Minister, Sindisiwe Chikunga, shared a terrifying ordeal she experienced during a pre-dawn ambush on Monday. Chikunga and her bodyguards were robbed after stopping on the N3 near Heidelberg. The incident left her fearing for her life, as she believed she could be shot at any moment.
According to the police, Chikunga and her protectors had pulled over to change a punctured tire, which they suspect was caused by objects deliberately placed on the road.
As they were putting the damaged tire and bags into the car, the robbery took place.
Chikunga recounted that she heard commotion outside while sitting in the car and attempted to make a phone call. However, one of the three robbers approached her, opened the car door, and pointed a gun at her head. They forced her out of the vehicle and demanded money.
During the incident, the robbers took R200, laptops, and her brother’s bag from the car. They also tried to take her ring, but she emphasized its sentimental value to her and managed to keep it. Chikunga expressed feeling devastated and traumatized by the incident.
The robbers appeared to be well-dressed individuals in their 20s or 30s who spoke Zulu fluently. Thankfully, they did not take an iPad that was left in one of the bags. Chikunga expressed gratitude for their lives being spared.
A police source revealed that the attack occurred while Chikunga’s protectors were attending to the punctured tire. The armed gang emerged from nearby bushes without knowing that the men were bodyguards and police officers protecting a national minister. The source expressed relief that lives were not lost in the incident.
Confirming the incident, National police spokesperson Brigadier Athlenda Mathe mentioned that the protectors involved were receiving counselling and support from the SAPS Employee Health and Wellness unit. The two bodyguards have been relieved of their duties temporarily, and Chikunga has been provided with alternative security resources until they are ready to return.