A Mobeni Heights temple was robbed while language classes were taking place on Wednesday evening, 23 August.
Police spokesman Lieutenant-Colonel Thulani Zwane said five men walked into the Laksmi Narayan Temple and robbed those inside at gunpoint at around 6pm.
“They took cellphones, wallets and handbags. They also took three vehicles which were later recovered in Lamontville,” said Zwane.
A temple official, who did not want to be named, said about 20 students, including adults were attending classes to learn Sanskrit, when the suspects walked in.
“They told learners to sit on the floor and not to look up at them. It all happened very fast and fortunately no one was injured,” he said.
An armed response officer who wishes to remain anonymous stated that the suspects had walked past the temple guard, 10 minutes before the robbery, then returned, shoved him aside into a corner, covering his head with his own woollen hat. They then went into the room where learning and reading were taking place.
“They took all car keys as well. They got away with three cars, a Mercedes, an Etios and a Polo. A police tracker car arrived and we rushed to Lamontville where the Mercedes and Polo were tracked. Another car was tracked passing Isipingo,” said the officer.
Ashwin Trikamjee, President of the South African Hindu Maha Sabha stated that it is sad that places of worship would now have to consider employing armed security to protect worshippers.
“Nobody attends services with any threat in mind and the robbers clearly see religious institutions as soft targets,” said Trikamjee.