Eastern Cape property mogul and cricket enthusiast Mthetheleli Ngumbela’s business became the latest target of armed robbery yesterday when his offices were hit by two men in Buffalo Street, East London.
The youths managed to speed off with a tenant’s monthly rent of R5400, but it could have been more if not for the brave crime fighting of his 65-year-old employee Thozamile Ncence, who wrestled with the robbers.
Ncence said two young men entered at 10am while he was assisting a tenant. They pretended to be potential tenants.
“One said he was a student looking for accommodation and the other one said he was a barber.”
Ncence said he became outraged after the suspects did not knock on the door. “They barged in while I was counting a large amount of money from tenants so I told them to step outside.”
Ncence said the two left, giving him time to call a security guard. “I counted the money with the assistance of the security [guard] because I didn’t trust the boys.”
Ncence said the youths came back and despite an effort to chase them away, only one left while the one pretending to be a student sat down. “I got off my chair and approached him and that is when he pulled out a pistol and pointed it at my head.
“He threatened to blow my brains out.”
Ncence said the youth then approached the tenant and took all his rent money while waving the gun in the air. “ I jumped forward and held his right arm, which had the gun. Two shots went off but I held on.”
Ncence said the tenant joined him together they managed to bundle the young man out. “We shoved him down the stairs but he got up and pushed the door.”
Ncence said half of the man’s left arm was trapped in the door as he tried to force his way back in while he kept firing shots with the free arm.
“In total he fired five shots, but luckily they didn’t hit us.”
Ngumbela, 77, owns a number of properties in Buffalo Street.
Arafad Sbresine, 39, who stays at Ngumbela’s Tirose Court in Union street, said he went to the offices to pay his monthly rent of R4 850 when the robbers arrived and took all his money. “It was my only money left. I won’t be able to rent. I am now scared of being kicked out.”
“Also in the bag that was taken by the suspect was R550 for my personal stuff.”
East London police spokeswoman Warrant Officer Hazel Mqala confirmed the incident but said details were not ready to be given to the public. “We will only be able to release the information once the docket has been captured in the system,” she said.