November 13 2009 at 07:15AM
By Alex Eliseev
When the alleged leader of the notorious Razor Gang escaped from court in September, Inspector Bruce Macintosh made a promise to Bronwyn Paterson.
No matter how long it would take, he would hunt down Raymond Zulu for the brutal attack her family suffered in October 2007.
Yesterday, Macintosh called Bronwyn while still deep inside extension 2 of Diepsloot township. Next to him, in the rubble of a half-broken shack, was a man in handcuffs. The man dubbed “Razor”.
According to police sources, Macintosh began receiving information about Zulu’s movements last Friday. He spent each night of the weekend in the township, north of Johannesburg, meeting with as many as five informers monitoring the area.
At the time of their escape, Zulu and his gang were called “sewer rats” by police officers because they had low profiles in the townships and were extremely difficult to track down.
But the crimes they allegedly committed were heinous. The five-member gang are accused of an attack at the home of Bronwyn and her husband, former Wits University professor Alan Paterson.
Their daughter Jamie, who was 17 at the time, was raped on the eve of her final exams. Bronwyn was stabbed with a pair of scissors. The robbers broke three of her ribs, smashed her nose and tore off a piece of her ear.
On September 10, Zulu and eight other prisoners managed to break out of the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court, attacking court orderlies and taking advantage of the run-down building. Among them was Sibusiso Mashinini – also an alleged member of the Razor Gang – and two violent robbers who pulled off a heist at a Sandton jewellery store. Five of the men were rearrested, but Zulu and Mashinini were on the run. Mashinini is yet to be captured.
Yesterday, Macintosh – of the Trio Task Team, Alexandra police cluster – and five fellow officers arrived in Diepsloot and were led by the informers to the shack where Zulu was hiding. The chain and lock were on the outside of the door, an apparent attempt to fool people into believing no one was home.
When Zulu refused to open up, Macintosh kicked down the door, causing parts of the shack to come crashing down.
Sources say Zulu was so shocked, all he could say was: “Mr Macintosh, you’ve got me.”
Zulu was taken to the Sandton police station holding cells and is due to appear in court on Monday.
The Patersons were overjoyed at yesterday’s arrest.
“He (Macintosh) said to me: ‘I won’t rest until I find him. I’ll get him one day’,” Bronwyn told The Star.
“He is an unsung angel who has been quietly putting his life at risk for the sake of others. He should be commended.”
She added that the news came as a complete surprise.
“We are cheered by the thought that there are ordinary policemen out there doing magnificent work, and we thank them,” Alan said.
“My family would now urge the authorities to ensure that these and other gangs will no longer slip through the system.”
After the robbery, Alan moved to England to set up a new home for his family. But he decided to return to South Africa, and is due back next month.
When Zulu and Mashinini escaped, Alan wrote a letter to President Jacob Zuma, but has not received a response.
Zulu was found with an unlicensed firearm and will face fresh charges for that and for his escape.
He has been linked to several other cases of violent house robberies and a murder, police spokesman Inspector Lee Ramdiyal said.
The Razor Gang face two separate trials at the Alexandra Magistrate’s Court, and police will investigate whether Zulu committed any new crimes while on the run.
This article was originally published on page 1 of The Star on November 13, 2009