Three robbers broke into the leader of NFP and Science and Technology Deputy Minister Zanele Magwaza-Msibi’s plush Umhlanga residence and held her daughter at knife-point on Wednesday morning.
The robbers got away with a large amount of cash from a concealed safe, leaving the house “upside down” as they pillaged the National Freedom Party leader’s home for loot.
The balaclava-clad intruders reportedly demanded the code to the electronic safe from Magwaza-Msibi’s daughter while threatening her with knives. The politician was not at home at the time.
A ditched iPhone has been recovered and a domestic worker has been taken in for questioning.
The robbers had discarded the iPhone on Umhlanga Rocks Drive, where cyclist Donald Ensor saw its reflection and stopped to pick it up.
“I have quite a bright light on my bicycle and while I was riding I saw this phone lying in the road near the pavement. I picked it up and put it in my pocket; I didn’t even look if it was on,” he said.
“When it rang, I answered it and was told it had been taken in a robbery. I handed it into the police station when I was done with the ride,” Ensor added.
The politician reportedly boarded an early flight from Cape Town back to Durban after news of the robbery reached her.
In a statement, the National Freedom Party president said the robbery happened at around 03:45.
“Two men armed with knives and one of them wearing a balaclava broke into my house. They broke down my door and went into the bathroom and left everything upside down,” she said.
“It’s a very traumatic experience and my daughter, who was at the house at the time, is still in shock and traumatised.
“While I am grateful that my daughter was not hurt, as a mother, I cannot imagine the trauma she went through as she was accosted by armed men.
“This incident demonstrates the high levels of crime in our country,” she added.
“They took valuables. At the moment, we do not want to speculate and will allow police to do their work,” she said, not elaborating on how much was stolen.
A police source close to the investigation said that a domestic worker was being questioned.
“It is apparent that the intruders knew about the existence of the safe and that points to them having a knowledge of the home and its contents,” he said.
He added that use of a balaclava to conceal their faces indicated that they could be known to the family.
“The iPhone is able to pinpoint the location and these guys were smart, they would rather throw it away than be caught.”
Police spokesperson Thulani Zwane said no arrests had been made yet