Diary of a rural girl chapter 38 - Mzansi Stories

Thursday, May 28


Diary of a rural girl chapter 38


The rural girl who went to Gauteng

Mahlatse and the detective

Chapter 38

I was still shaking out of shock and still in tears when Mr Pillay arrived at the crime scene. “Oh my goodness, thanks God you’re all alright. I was worried sick that maybe you might not be”, Mr Pillay said as he approached us. He looked worried; I could really see it in his face. “Don’t worry, the police are on their way; you can all give them your statements so that before this week is over, those bloody hooligans can be arrested and taken off the streets”, he said to us. Mr Pillay’s eyes swept all the area as he wandered around the whole restaurant as if to see if he could find any incriminating evidence that could help the police with a speedy apprehension of the robbers.

The police showed up about ten minutes after Mr Pillay had arrived because I had also called them to report the crime. “Good evening”, one of them greeted, “My name is Detective Hendrick Khudu and I work for the South African Police Service, stationed at the Sunnyside Police Station. How can I be of assistance to you this evening?” Mr Pillay explained to him about the robbery that had taken place earlier and as he did, they were going from spot to spot in the restaurant, as though trying to simulate the robbers’ moves. Justice, Matlakala, Josephine and I were only looking at them, eagerly waiting for the time when we’ll all be asked to give our individual statements so that we could head back home―we all needed the rest after all we had been through that day.

When he was done talking to Detective Khudu, Mr Pillay came to us to share some information with us. “Okay guys, luckily, there are security cameras all over the restaurant so it’s only a matter of time until they are caught and arrested”, he said. “I will however”, he continued, “ask that you all give individual statements to Detective Khudu. In cases such as this one, it’s possible for victims to feel as though they are being interrogated. It is absolutely normal to feel that way and the detective’s questions are not for you to feel as though you’re being turned into a criminal or that you were an active, and not a passive, participant in the robbery”. I got up to go to the restrooms and when I got back, Detective Khudu and his colleague had already begun taking statements from my colleagues.
Victor entered the restaurant the same time I got back from the restroom. Realising that everyone was busy with the police, he came straight to me and placed his hand on my shoulder. “Mahlatse”, he said, “please tell me what happened here”. I quickly went to the kitchen to fetch myself a glass of water and thereafter, came back to sit next to him. Before I could tell him about what had happened, Detective Khudu, who was done taking Josephine’s statement, called me. “Excuse me”, I said to Victor, “I will be back; the detective needs to take my statement from me”. I then got up from my chair and went to Detective Khudu.
“Please Miss Mokwena”, Detective Khudu said, reading my last name from a piece of paper he had in his hand, “take a seat”. I sat down on the seat he had just offered to me. Detective Khudu took out his pen and began writing something on a document he had in front of him. “How I’ll conduct your statement-taking session will be slightly different from how I did when I took your colleagues’ statements. The reason I will do so is that you were the one who was face-to-face with the thugs and as a result, I am going to try to keep this interview very short and to the point. Is that okay with you?” “It’s fine”, I agreed.

“So Mahlatse; I can call you, Mahlatse, right?” Detective Khudu, asked. I nodded and then he looked at me, took out his eye glasses and put them on. “Let us begin then”, he said, as he began to write, “Can you be able to remember the faces of the thugs if I asked you to describe them as well as their race?” I nodded and told him that I could try as I was scared, dazed and confused throughout the ordeal. “Very well, then. Can you describe them for me.” “It was three guys, who looked as though they could be in their early 20s. I can remember only one of them very well. He looked like he could be the leader as he was the only one holding the gun. He was also a little taller than I, was missing a front tooth and had dreadlocks for hair”, I said to him. After I had provided him with this information, Detective Khudu got up from his chair and said that that was all the information he needed. He then looked at Mr Pillay and said, “Mr Pillay, I will retrieve the surveillance camera footage from the security company and will analyse it to see if it can’t help lead us to a quick apprehension of these suspects. I give you my word; I will have these criminals off the streets in no time”. Detective Khudu then signalled for his partner and thereafter they left the restaurant.

Mr Pillay, for the hundredth time now, asked us if those thugs did not hurt us in any way. He obviously got the same answer he got before; with the exception of Justice, who also said he was fine, we were all fine. He then offered to drive us all to our respective flats as it was already late at the time and, as he said, “The last thing I need now is to see you being victims of crime again in the streets of Sunnyside”. Mr Pillay also told Victor to reshuffle the rooster so that we could all be off the following day. It made sense to book us all off though because we needed to go sleep the terrible night off. Mr Pillay dropped me off at the flat at 00h25 in his luxurious BMW 535i. When I got in at the gate of our apartment, I was shocked to see Sweetness sitting on the staircase; she was fast asleep. She was lucky to not have been robbed of her belongings because she had her luggage with her. I then woke her up and said, “Oh my God, girl, what are you doing here this time of night?” Sweetness said nothing; she only looked at me with sorrow-filled eyes and began crying.

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