Johannesburg – CCTV footage has emerged showing armed robbers running amok and breaking into homes in Meredale Extension 2, south of Johannesburg, in what residents say is the latest campaign of terror launched by criminals in the area.
It shows a gang in two cars – a white Toyota sedan Etios (registration number HL 91 LN GP) and a maroon Toyota 4×4 – jumping out, scaling walls and trying to force open the gates as they wield sharp objects, including a crowbar.
An investigation shows that the Toyota sedan is owned by one E Nyathi of Clayville near Tembisa in Ekurhuleni and is used by Masana Driving School in Ebony Park, Midrand.
This came after a spate of violent crimes in the area in the past which saw a man and his son tied up, beaten up and stabbed with a screwdriver.
The reign of terror has led to residents accusing local police of failing to protect them and their property.
In the first footage, captured last week by CCTV cameras, armed robbers can be seen jumping over the neighbour’s wall as terrified children screamed for help.
Kenneth Adams, a concerned resident who captured men jumping off the Toyota Etio and throwing themselves into his neighbour’s property in Valk Street, said crime had become unbearable in the area.
“On Monday, I saw the car coming past here, but it was like these guys didn’t see any other house because they came straight to this house. It made a U-turn went past and reversed back. One of the guys tried to get out of the car. But they realised that there were cameras and he didn’t get out of the car. They then reversed back towards a driveway from the house. Then they jumped over the fence. The neighbour alerted my son, who also alerted me. But they were already gone,” explained Adams.
An investigation revealed the car is linked to Masana Driving School, which is owned by Surprise Manyike.
The Sunday Independent called the two cellphone numbers that appeared under the name of the owner of the vehicle.
A man who answered the first call denied any knowledge of the vehicle and its activities, adding: “I don’t even own a Toyota vehicle”. He ended the call. The man who answered the second phone refused to comment. He, too, ended the call.
In separate CCTV footage, a man can be seen jumping out of a maroon Toyota 4×4 with a crowbar in his hand, and trying to pull the gate off the rail.
“They specifically went to that house and tried to lift the gate off the rail. But they drove off after they failed to open it, and I think they were distracted. They were also captured by the cameras,” he said.
The 58 -year-old added that the modus operandi used by the gang has been the same used in other robberies in the area.
“There was one stage that almost on a daily basis houses were broken into. There was a guy that was moving around. I think he is the same guy because he would jump in the yards, making sure the cameras didn’t catch him, but there was a camera that caught him but we couldn’t see his face. I think he is the same who stole my neighbour’s laptops earlier this year,” Adams added.
He accused the police of failing residents. “The last time I saw police in this area was many moons ago, before the lockdown. They were in a private car,” said Adams adding that they (police) don’t attend the cases.
Adams said he was forced to install cameras all over the yards as a result of poor police visibility.
“We are even scared to go on a holiday because not everyone can afford these cameras (CCTV). If you don’t have beam cameras in your yard, that’s where things are happening. That is the life we are living, we are living like prisoners.”
Another resident, who survived last week’s attempted robbery, said this was not the first incident.
“Two years ago, I remember it was on December 26, we were robbed in the house. The guys tied us up and beat us and they stabbed my son with a screwdriver. This was a bad experience because they damaged my hand and spine. They took everything that we have worked for. Again, during the lockdown, they tried to enter but they failed. Crime in this area is terrible, there has been an attempted robbery in every house in this area.”
Councillor Peter Stewart said he was aware of the spate of crime in the area but said it was a police matter.
“Councillors are there to look after the service delivery issues of the municipality. As councillors, we refer crime to police.
If the police are not doing anything about these cases then people should sign a petition that they are not happy with the police station,” said Stewart.
Mondeor SAPS spokesperson Nokulunga Dube asked for time to check the files before commenting.