In a shocking and unprecedented incident, South African Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga found herself facing armed robbers who disarmed her bodyguards and robbed her. The traumatic incident occurred in the early hours of a Monday when Chikunga’s car was forced to stop on a highway south of Johannesburg. The attackers had punctured the car’s tires with spikes, leaving the minister and her security detail vulnerable.
Chikunga recounted her harrowing experience to a parliamentary committee, stating that three well-dressed gunmen, their faces concealed by balaclavas, approached her vehicle as her bodyguards attempted to change the flat tires. The robbers took control of the situation, with one of them pointing a gun at her head and demanding she exit the vehicle.
During the robbery, the assailants made off with personal belongings, including Chikunga’s laptop and phone. What makes this incident even more remarkable is the theft of two South African Police Service (SAPS) pistols from the bodyguards. The criminals also demanded money, but Chikunga only had 200 rand (approximately $10) on her.
The police are now on the hunt for the culprits, describing the incident as unprecedented. South Africa has long grappled with a high crime rate, with over 500 recorded robberies and nearly 70 murders per day between April and June of this year in a country with a population of 62 million.
The incident highlights the ongoing challenges of safety and justice in South Africa, where authorities have faced criticism for their inability to protect citizens and bring criminals to justice. Despite this, the South African Police Service (SAPS) is committed to its mandate of protecting the country’s executive figures and the general public. VIP protection remains a top priority for SAPS, and efforts to ensure the safety of high-profile individuals continue.