Parents of the teenager who was shot in the stomach during a robbery, spoke out after three days of hell since the incident. The family is still trying to put the pieces together after three armed men gained entry into their home in Boskruin.
Xander van Zyl is recovering at the Netcare Olivedale Hospital in the intensive care unit. His father Johan van Zyl said that the doctors informed him they will only be able to to determine the damage done to his abdomen after two to three months.
Johan said that he believes his son was followed by the men who got in through the kitchen door, soon after his son arrived home to greet his mother at 11pm on 4 March.
“I was in our bedroom and my wife was watching TV in the lounge. The three men barged in, forcing my wife and son into another room. My son bravely hit one of the men with a baseball bat but was shot in the stomach and tied up along with us. My wife and I were stabbed in the head with a screw driver. The men stole all car keys,electronics and jewellery, including a firearm. They then took off in my car,” said Johan.
At that point Johan said one of the three shots fired at them grazed his wife, Eurika’s arm. When the men left, he did not even consider looking at what items had been stolen. His main concern was getting his son to the hospital as soon as possible, since he had been tied up and bleeding for almost an hour.
“I believe it is wrong how we as a society allow people to commit small crimes and not consider how they lead to greater crimes. It is also wrong that it has become a norm when people break into your property. Since the incident I feel a combination of emotions. At times I feel angry about what happened, then I just feel devastated about the ordeal my family is going through,” said Johan.
Tiaan van Zyl, who is Xander’s older brother said his family is still traumatised by the incident. “We always hear about crime happening to people but I believe it can happen to anyone, especially in the kind of country we live in that has a high prevalence of crime,” Tiaan explained.
Johan said that so far he has received a great response from his family, friends and the community. He also commended the great work done by the Honeydew Police Station and the staff at the Netcare Olivedale Hospital.
“We are glad our son is awake and recognises us,” Johan added.
Warrent Officer Balan Muthan said on 5 March that the teenager died during surgery. This despite Tiaan informing the media otherwise.
“A case of housebreaking and murder was opened at the Honeydew Police Station. There is an ongoing investigation and no suspects have been arrested,” WO Balan Muthan had said.
Gauteng Police spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Lungelo Dlamini later corrected WO Muthan, stating that Xander is alive and recovering in hospital. When contacted on 7 March, WO Muthan said that he had not received any further information from the investigating officer. He refused to give comment on where he got his information from regarding Xander’s alleged death.