This is the tyre used by highway gang to trap road users

Kamogelo Seekoei

Kamogelo Seekoei

Members of a Gauteng high school choir spoke yesterday of their 40 minutes of trauma on the N14 highway when a gang robbed them of cellphones, money, clothes and jewellery.

The choir from Sikhululekile Secondary School were on their way from Hammanskraal to Krugersdorp to compete in the Gauteng provincial school music competitions.

"We suffered a mixture of trauma and joy that day," one of the pupils, Thabang Mokgoshi, said.

The choir moved from the horror on the freeway to win first prize at the competitions.

They will represent the Gauteng province at the national schools choir competition at the CocaCola Dome in Johannesburg next Saturday.

The pupils and their teachers were robbed and assaulted on the N14 near Diepsloot recently.

This was on the stretch of road where a gang using a truck tyre as a decoy has raped and robbed three women and assaulted other motorists in the past few weeks.

Lesego Tsatsi said she saw the men but never thought they were going to get into the bus.

"I saw two men approach the bus and we jokingly said they were going to rob us," said Tsatsi, who was sitting with the teachers at the front of the bus.

She said the two men dropped something and peeped into the bus before going past.

"After a while other men, wielding guns, came in shouting 'cellphones, cellphones'."

The men had a black plastic bag into which the cellphones and watches were dropped.

They also took the teachers' wedding rings and leather jackets, which they wore immediately.

The men proceeded to assault the pupils and teachers, demanding more of their possessions despite having robbed them of everything.

Sphiwe Ndlovu said she saw the men leave a house and cross the road towards the highway.

"But I did not think much of it," Ndlovu said. "I thought the residents were used to doing that when going somewhere because there was a footpath nearby."

She said they were traumatised and even forgot their clothes in the luggage compartment.

Choirmaster Abram Morobane said he was worried about the threat posed by the thugs to the safety of the pupils.

"I prayed that they would not shoot," Morobane said. "I did nothing because that would have aggravated the situation. I just wanted the kids to be safe."

Another choir member, Thabang Mokgoshi, said they won the music competition because they had joked about the incident.

"We teased each other about the broken isiZulu we were speaking," he said. "But after we won the shock sank in."

Police spokesman Elias Ribisi said police were investigating the case.

He said the robbery took place in the same area but not at the same spot as other reported incidents.

Ribisi said they believed the same group of criminals could be responsible for the robberies in the area but did not have any real leads yet.