'I FEAR FOR MY life'

A VEREENIGING family is in hiding after a police bungle led to death threats from a gang of robbers.

Eric Witbooi said he fled his Three Rivers home with his family on December 23 last year after receiving death threats from two men who had allegedly broken into his house.

Witbooi said his ordeal began on November 26 last year when his house was broken into and electrical appliances stolen.

"I suspected that my neighbour's child was behind the crime after he told me that he had seen people loading the appliances into a car. He later confessed to my friend that he and his three friends were behind the crime.

"Two days later I informed the investigating officer in the case, who told me that my case was not a priority," Witbooi said.

He said the neighbour's child was arrested but later released because he was under-age and there was no evidence linking him to the crime.

On December 12 last year the suspect's uncle, sister and sister-in-law told Witbooi that one of the suspect's friends had informed them that they had sold his appliances to a local pawn shop.

His case was transferred to another investigating officer after he complained at the Vereeniging police station.

Witbooi said two weeks later he met two of the suspects who were said to have broken into his house.

"They told me I was not going to get my goods back and they were going to kill me and my family. I informed the police about the threats, who said I must obtain a peace letter from a court against the two.

"My family is traumatised by what has happened. All I want is to get my goods back and to return safely to my house without fear. The police have failed me and instead have shown that criminals have more rights than law abiding citizens," Witbooi said.

Police spokesperson Teboho Lephoto said the Vereeniging police station was investigating the matter.