Cape Town – Colleen van Rensburg braved a hijacker and took punches to the face as she protected her son during an attempted hijacking in Parklands.
Van Rensburg was packing her bags into the car, her five-year-old son strapped into his seat, as they prepared to leave home for the day, when a man tried to take her car last week.
“I heard someone coming up behind me, but I assumed it was someone who lived in the complex. Then he stood next to me and was holding something like a screwdriver and I started screaming.
"He started walking to the driver’s seat and he got in and wanted the keys. I was still packing things in the boot.”
Realising her son was still in the car, she went into fight mode and managed to get the attacker out of the car, she said.
“I can’t even remember how it happened, but I think I managed to get him out the car and he grabbed my arm. I was screaming the entire time, and he started throwing punches, and my son was also screaming.”
She said people started coming out of their homes and that is when the man fled and managed to get away with only her son’s backpack.
“Any mother would fight in that situation, whether you think you will be able to or not. I just wanted to be the barrier between this guy and my son.”
Che Paulse, a trustee on the complex’s body corporate, said they had increased security after the incident.
“What happened was they forced open the concertina-type gate and squeezed through the gap they made. We have since repaired it. We got an armed response company to do random patrols throughout the day.”
Paulse said the incident was an isolated one and the complex last experienced break-ins about eight years ago.
Automobile Association spokesperson Layton Beard said it was a difficult situation for any parent to imagine themselves being in, but shared some safety tips.
“Our advice is to stay as calm as possible, keep your hands visible and follow all their commands. If you have a child in the back, just keep reiterating that you want to get your child out and that they can take anything, but you just want your child.”
He said whether they would listen or not was up to them, but their main objective was to get the car and not a child.
“Anecdotally we have heard that two kilometres down the line, they will drop the child on the side of the road. A hijacker is not interested in anything but your vehicle…
"Some mothers will be strong and have focus, but you have to educate yourself as there are things you can control, like ensuring you don’t travel in known hot spots or that you have enough petrol.”