At around 9pm, 5 masked men appear out of nowhere swearing, waving guns and threatening lives while collecting wallets, phones and jewellery. As I battle to remove my wedding ring, one threatens to cut my finger off. They demand the keys to the safe. We don’t have a safe. They don’t believe us. They pistol whip and severely beat my husband and separate the adults from the kids. The adults are locked in a storeroom, the kids in a room upstairs. My husband is bleeding and dazed. Grandparents are in shock. What is happening to the kids? I feel sick to my stomach.
After what feels like hours, they flee with valuables and sentimental items, including a car in which there is a house remote and set of keys. We escape from the storeroom and activate the alarm. The kids are okay but severely traumatised. We wake up my neighbour. It is now 11pm. They phone the police. I then phone 0861 000 604, my 24-hour MPLL lifeline. This is a nightmare I never thought would happen to me.
A consultant takes my call and expertly assesses my immediate needs. He calms me down and is just so kind. An ambulance is dispatched, my husband is assessed and taken to hospital. The rest of the family stay the night in a hotel where we feel much safer. That gives us, and especially the children, great comfort.
On Sunday morning, a locksmith arrives, changes all the outdoor locks on the house and gives us new remotes for the front gate and garages. MPLL delivers a crimebox. In it is a mobile phone with preloaded airtime. At least I can now communicate. There are Uber vouchers and a debit card with R500 cash. There are forms to apply for a new driver’s license and ID document. It hadn’t even crossed my mind that they were gone. I am still in shock, but my head begins to clear. On Monday I schedule trauma counselling for my family. What a godsend. Thank you MPLL.