A man was shot in the leg in broad daylight, reportedly in the presence of a nearby uniformed police officer, and robbed of a large amount of cash just outside FNB in Morgan Street. The incident occurred on Friday afternoon, the 11th of November at around 13:30 when the victim, a man in his 50’s was underway to deposit cash for his employer.

“I regularly deposit money for our company and usually use alternative routes and different banks in the area. I make sure to hide the money very well and look very inconspicuous as I know the risks,” the man explained whilst speaking to Bulletin from his gurney in the casualties ward at Van Velden hospital.

According to the victim who requested anonymity, he was walking down Morgan Street towards FNB when he noticed two young African males approaching from the front. Both men were carrying 9mm pistols in their hands and were looking straight at him. As he passed one of the electronics stores near the bank, the two men pushed him into the alleyway and one of the assailants pointed the gun at his chest and pulled the trigger.

“There was no bullet in the chamber and all I heard was “click-click” and no gunshot. This led me to believe it was a toy gun and so I fought back, wrestling my attackers to the ground where the other guy pulled the trigger on his own pistol and two shots rang out. I didn’t know that I had been shot in the leg, but the robbers grabbed the money. I managed to grab my phone out of the hands of one of them as they turned and walked off. That’s when I felt the warmth down my calve, looked down and saw I was shot.”

The victim called his wife who rushed over to his side from her place of employment a short while away in the same vicinity of the bank. Some bystanders assisted the victim and the police and emergency services were summoned. According to the victim, a uniformed police officer was inside the bank’s ATM section at the time of the shooting. He said that he saw the police officer exit the building moments after the shooting, look at him on the ground, and climb into his vehicle and drive off.

Shockingly, in most of the retail outlets along Morgan Street, there are security guards stationed at the entrances. Not one of these security guards pushed a panic button or tried to assist the victim. Witnesses told Bulletin that the two assailants walked across the street after they shot the man, climbed into a white Toyota Corolla and drove off as if nothing had happened.

In the meantime, the victim was treated at Van Velden hospital for a gunshot wound, but x-rays revealed that shrapnel from the bullet was scattered throughout a large portion of his calve and so he was admitted and kept overnight. For a reason not quite clear, there was no operation performed and he was sent home the following day with a course of antibiotics. “I was told I faced the threat of lead poisoning and so I needed to finish my antibiotics first.”

A case was opened at the police station and at the time of going to print there have been no arrests. We received cctv footage from one of the retailers near the bank upon which the two robbers are seen robbing another victim a week or so prior to this latest incident, at the same spot right in front of the bank. They are seen running across the road, splitting up and entering two different retailers. A few minutes later they exit and a white or grey(ish) coloured Toyota Corolla pulls up and they enter and drive off.

One of the medical staff at Van Velden told Bulletin that they have treated three similar victims in their casualty ward in the last few months. There story is eerily similar.

There remains a number of unanswered questions which include why these two suspects have not yet been apprehended, or why the police have not been able to trap them or track their vehicle which is clearly visible on the cctv footage. Given that the incident occurred less than a kilometre from the Tzaneen police station, it begs the question why a “manhunt” has not yet been initiated considering the frequency of these brazen attacks. Lastly, and arguably most concerning, is why the uniformed police officer did nothing to try and help the victim, or at least call for backup to try and apprehend the criminals through roadblocks?

At the time of going to print the victim said that he was in a tremendous amount of constant pain and that he would be returning to Van Velden for further check-ups. This is a developing story and we will follow up in the next edition.

>