Family’s fear of crime

Phumelele Bikwana shows Vukani where the criminals attempted to break to break the door so that they could gain entry.

The Bikwana family from Gugulethu say their lives are in danger and they fear for their safety after armed criminals broke into their home twice in two weeks.

The family told Vukani that it was in the wee hours of Saturday June 16 when four criminals armed with pangas and a hammer entered their home.

Nozuko Bikwana said when the criminals entered their house she, her younger sister and other relatives were still awake as they were doing final preparations for her mother’s funeral on the same day.

Ms Bikwana said the criminals took a laptop, television set and other valuables.

She said the criminals jumped over the Vibracrete wall and kicked in the kitchen door to gain entry.

She said they all ran to a back room and locked themselves in while they were calling out to the neighbours for help.

She said the incident lasted about 10 minutes but left the family distraught and terrified.

Ms Bikwana said the family were still mourning the loss of her mother and are still trying to come to terms with her death.

Ms Bikwana said the police responded quickly but when they got to their house the criminals had just left.

She said she thought things were getting back to normal and her fears had calmed down a bit when things took another horrible turn.

Ms Bikwana said at 5.45am on Friday June 29 two criminals broke into their home through the garage gate.

She said it looks like they used a crowbar to break the heavy locks to gain entry.

She said they immediately ran into a room and screamed for help. This time the criminals took their car keys.

Ms Bikwana said she made numerous requests to view the a nearby CCTV camera footage with the police in the hope that she might identify the criminals.

However, she was left disappointed when she was informed that they were not at liberty to view the footage.

The 50-year-old said she was shocked and did not see the point of having the cameras placed in their communities if they were not allowed to view them when crime happened in their homes and community.

“Our lives are in danger. What is the use of having CCTV cameras if we are not going to be able to view them? We constantly live in fear. The police took their time as well when we reported the matter.

“This CCTV is meant to protect us and capture criminals but if we are not allowed to view it then it should not be standing in this community,” she said.

Ms Bikwana said after the first incident she opted to beef up their security measures by installing burglar gates, but still the criminals managed to break in.

She said they hoped that it was just criminals but now she thinks these people are after them.

Ms Bikwana said she suspects that the people who are behind the incidents know there are only women in the house.

Her brother, Phumelele Bikwana, said the fact that they were not allowed to view the CCTV camera footage was frustrating.

Mr Bikwana said if they could view the footage they could help the police apprehend the suspects as they might be able to identify them.

Gugulethu police station spokeperson, Constable Sindiswe Ngqele, confirmed to Vukani that a case of house robbery had been opened at the station.

Constable Ngqele said the family had been informed that they were not allowed to view the CCTV footage as they were not police officers.

She said even police officers were not at liberty of viewing the footage and it was only an investigative officer who could view it.

She said the family wanted to view footage from a CCTV camera which had been installed by a nearby church, which was private property.