pensioners, GUARD shot IN robberY

Sne Masuku

Sne Masuku

A 69-year-old pensioner and a security guard were yesterday still in serious conditions after they were shot during a robbery at a pension paypoint at Umlazi, Durban, on Tuesday.

Bahluphile Mazibuko, 69, sustained two bullet wounds in the leg and thigh when armed robbers stormed the pension point.

Mazibuko was unable to talk to Sowetan yesterday because she was still in severe pain. Speaking through a nurse, she said she was too tired and distraught after the life-threatening incident.

Another victim, Nkosinathi Phewa, a security guard at the pension paypoint, sustained a bullet wound to the chest.

He is fighting for his life in the intensive care unit of the King Edward Hospital.

About 15 robbers stormed the Mbalenhle community hall at the township's G Section where Mazibuko and other pensioners had queued to receive their pension grants.

The robbers confronted the security guards and demanded their firearms and cash.

The pensioners fled for their lives when the robbers threatened to shoot everyone if the guards did not give them the money.

Several pensioners, including Mazibuko, sought refuge in a nearby toilet. But some of the robbers followed them and opened fire indiscriminately.

Seven pensioners, including Phewa and Mazibuko, were rushed to the nearby Prince Mshiyeni Hospital after being shot.

Police spokesman Daniela Velhuzen said the police had launched a manhunt for the robbers the same day.

Veldhuzen said the police found the getaway cars allegedly used by the robbers abandoned a few kilometres from the scene.

Residents living in and around the community hall said they heard gunshots and went out to investigate.

A resident who did not want to be named said she went out to see what was happening.

"I saw people carrying guns as others scampered for their lives around the yard and then I heard more gunfire.

"More security guards or even local police should be deployed at the hall when pensioners are being paid," she said.