Ricky Zililo Senior Sports Reporter
HIGHLANDERS secretary-general Emmet Ndlovu says he is thankful to be alive after surviving an armed robbery next to Edenvale Hospital in the east of Johannesburg, South Africa, on September 29.
Ndlovu lost cash and other valuables to gun totting robbers at Longmeadow in Edenvale on his way to see a doctor before driving back to Zimbabwe.
According to a sworn affidavit made at the Linden Police Station close to Randburg on the day of the robbery, Ndlovu indicated that he was accosted by gunmen who robbed him of $300, P300 and R25,000. Some of the money Ndlovu was robbed of included R14,500 he had received from the Highlanders’ South Africa Supporters’ Chapter as proceeds from the sale of Bosso replica jerseys.
Narrating his brush with death to Chronicle Sport last night, Ndlovu said he was still traumatised by the event.
“To be honest, it was a very traumatic and terrifying experience. I’m just happy to be alive,” said Ndlovu.
“I know people might be raising eyebrows about the nature of my visit to South Africa, whether it was club or personal business. I had gone to seek medical attention. It wasn’t only Highlanders’ money which I lost; some belonged to friends and relatives based in South Africa who wanted me to give it to people at home. I just want to clear my name. I won’t run away and I’m going to pay that money,” he declared.
Bosso are reeling in debt above $500,000 and although R14,500 seems a small amount, it is such small amounts that have driven the club into the red.
It also emerged yesterday that two police stations, Sebenza in Edenvale and Linden in the north of Johannesburg, are investigating Ndlovu’s case according to SMSes sent to Ndlovu by the South African Police Service (SAPS).
“Message from SAPS. Lieut.MP Mthethwa will investigate your case Sebenza ref nr CAS 10/10/2015,” reads the first message.
“Message from SAPS. WO.AR Mahne will investigate your case Linden ref nr CAS 8/10/2015,” the second message reads.
Questions were being asked why the club’s money was not wired after Chronicle Sport reported on the robbery yesterday.
Highlanders’ chief executive officer Ndumiso Gumede indicated earlier yesterday that the people in South Africa had been given Bosso’s banking details to deposit the money and Ndlovu collected the money without the knowledge of other executive members.
“It’s true that our SG (Ndlovu) communicated to us while in South Africa last week that an unfortunate incident befell him. In the process he lost some club funds from the sale of replica jerseys. Usually a member of the chapter who might be travelling to Zimbabwe brings the money but in this case, they (chapter) had asked us to send the banking details and I instructed the club accountant to send them. Before they could send, they met the SG and gave him the money,” said Gumede.
He said the club will issue a detailed statement after the hierarchy has been fully apprised.
Ndlovu received Highlanders’ money on Sunday, September 27 at Booysens Hotel in the south of Johannesburg where the Highlanders’ Supporters’ Chapter had gathered to watch the Bosso and Caps United league clash on TV.
Ndlovu explained his reasoning for collecting the funds.
“To wire the money is a process and banks need receipts to show proof of merchandise. All this process is done because externalisation of funds is a serious matter in South Africa. It’s unfortunate that I was robbed, but I saw no problem in collecting the money because I was coming home on Tuesday (the day of the robbery).”
Ndlovu said he was flagged down by three people purporting to be police officers soon after off-ramping from the freeway towards Edenvale Hospital.
He said the robbers ransacked his Zimbabwe registered car and left him stranded after taking the car keys and shoving them into the boot.
As if the armed robbery wasn’t enough, Ndlovu said his car was broken into later that night at his son’s Cresta home.
“As I was trying to run around looking for fuel money since I had lost everything, thieves broke into the garage at my son’s place in Cresta. It’s a secure place where I always stay during my visits to South Africa. From the damage that we saw, they tried to steal my car but failed,” said Ndlovu.
He was ironically robbed on the same day that South African Police Minister Nathi Nhleko released the country’s crime statistics in parliament which showed that violent crime was spiralling.
Nhleko said there had been a sharp increase in violent crime, including attempted murder, assault and armed robbery, with the official stats revealing that 353 robberies were reported every day in South Africa.
He appealed to families and communities to help them flush out the malcontents saying the police alone were unable to resolve it.