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Durban cleric relives 12-minute ‘horror’ hijacking

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Hafiz Talha Kazi

Durban – Silent meditation and prayer is what saved the life of a Durban Muslim cleric during a 12-minute “horror drive” after he was hijacked outside Newlands West mosque at gunpoint, kidnapped and then abandoned near a KwaDabeka squatter camp on Friday.

Hafiz Talha Kazi, 27, from Durban North, had just finished a guest sermon at the Musjid Soofie Saheb when five armed men shoved him into his car.

Speaking from his home on Saturday, Kazi said he was still a little shaken but rather optimistic as he relived his traumatic experience.

He said before the ordeal, he had been preaching about adversity and trials and had no idea that he would face robbers at gunpoint.

“I was parked in the last lane at the exit of the mosque, after contemplating if I should park on the road outside or on the field, because the parking was full.”

He said five armed men “unsuspiciously” walked towards him, as he was leaving the mosque. Kazi had pulled out his car keys, disarmed the alarm and opened the door when he was approached by the gunmen.

“They came towards me and before you know it, they grabbed me.”

He heard worshippers scream “leave him alone, leave him alone”, as well as the mosque’s siren alert.

“They (the worshippers) were screaming ‘just give them the keys’. I was very obliging, I didn’t want to fight with the guys because they were armed. I thought, you know, that it’s not worth it to fight for a car and cellphone – so I offered him my car keys and cellphone. I said you can take it. One of the robbers told me to get into the car with him, so I did.”

Kazi said two men ran off while three got into the car, two in the back seat with him. They appeared to be about 19 or 20 years old and ordered him to keep his head down. He said he was calm and prayed.

“One of the prayers was if anything had to happen, God must ensure it happens swiftly… ” He remembered seeing the back window shatter after hearing a gunshot.

“I’m not sure if it was shot from inside but I got news later that one of the neighbours fired. I think that spooked them and they took off.”

Kazi said the robbers were neatly dressed and well-spoken. “The guy holding my head down at gunpoint reassured me that he would not kill me. He said ‘Sir, I promise you, we are not going to harm you. We just need the car, we just need some money.”

Kazi said he told the armed men “take the money, take the car, you don’t need me”. Unaware of where the men were taking him, he spoke to them with his head bowed and the weapon pushed into the back of his neck, all the time offering to help them with money and finding jobs. But the guy kept saying “we just need you to co-operate with us”.

He said this experience has taught him how adversity and trials make you consider what life is like for the less fortunate. The car’s clutch packed up bringing the vehicle to a standstill and the gunmen panicked and ran off, leaving the car with him inside.

Police found him in KwaDabeka.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant- Colonel Thulani Zwane said a case of hijacking and kidnapping had been opened.

Source: IOL

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N2 Kei Cuttings bus accident leaves 27 dead

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At least 27 people have been killed in a bus accident on the N2 at Kei Cuttings between East London and Butterworth in the Eastern Cape on Monday afternoon.

The death toll has been revised from earlier reports which indicated that 10 people have died.

Eastern Cape transport department spokesperson, Unathi Binqose, says the number of the deaths could increase as more people were still trapped inside the wrecked bus.

A large number of search and rescue personnel, traffic officers, firefighters and paramedics are on the scene.

Binqose said the death toll is likely to increase as search and rescue personnel plan to flip the bus over to see whether more people are trapped underneath.

The accident took place on the notorious section of the N2, known as the Kei Cuttings, north of the Kei River, which is known for its perilous twists and turns.

Binqose said the driver of the bus is among those who died.

The driver is believed to have lost control of the long-distance passenger bus before it plunged 200 metres down a steep embankment.

Read | 13 killed in KZN horror truck and minibus taxi crash

“He lost control just before he could cross the river on the last curve,” said Binqose.

Chief director of clinical support services for the health department, Kidwell Matshotyana, told TellitallSA that 22 people were stable and did not want to go to hospital.

“In terms of the injured people, we have five patients admitted at Frere Hospital and one at Life St Dominic’s Private Hospital [both in East London],” he said.

The department will arrange transport for the 22 people, who don’t want to go to hospital, to the nearest town. They will be given accommodation.

The bus is understood to have been transporting passengers from Cape Town.

Hospitals and emergency services in the area and further afield were offering help with triaging patients.

He said the police had the grim task of going through the luggage to find identity documents, in order to begin informing the next of kin of the tragedy.

The department would also work with the bus company to establish a contact centre for worried families checking up on people who were on the bus, and those details would be announced later.

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Skeem Saam’s Koko Mantsha death dismissed as fake news

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Koko Mantsha, the popular Skeem Saam character acto, real name, Lydia Mokgokoloshi is not dead.

Social media is awash with news of her death which seems to have been fuelled by fake news sites aiming to profit from unsuspecting lovers of the 80 year-old veteran actress.

Lydia Mokgokoloshi, has appeared in many television shows including Muvhango and Bophelo ke semphego.

Mokgokoloshi was born on 27 September 1939, in Polokwane, Polokwane Local Municipality, Capricorn District Municipality, Limpopo.

She is most famous for acting as Koko Mantsha the grandmother of Katlego Pietersen (Patrick Seleka) in the soap, Skeem Saam.

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Watch: Thulani Dlomo an alleged ‘Zuma spy’, hands himself in

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Thulani dlomo

Thulani Dlomo, the axed former SSA top spy and former SA ambassador to Japan has handed himself over to police on Friday.

Dlomo’s lawyer Philani Shangase said that he handed himself over at his own will at the Durban Central Police station on Friday.

He said Dlomo was not arrested but wanted to clear his name following media reports.

Dlomo was being interviewed by police officers at 17h00 on Friday.

“He has denied all wrong doing,” Shangase said.

Dlomo was suspected to be one of the instigators of the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

This is a developing story.

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