Orlando Pirates winger Vincent Pule has spoken out for the first time about his harrowing kidnapping ordeal.
According to the man from Free State, it was Sunday when he was enjoying family time and decided to go buy bread at a nearby petrol garage.
In what was a happy day for the Pule mini family, the 31-year-old tagged along with his wife and child on the journey.
Pule bought the “bread and energy drink” at the garage and was ambushed on his way back to the car. He was forced into the car of the perpetrators. Meanwhile, his family was left behind with his vehicle driven away by other accomplices.
VINCENT PULE ON HOW HE WAS KIDNAPPED
“So, last season, we came to camp, we trained and trained until the last three days. Three days before we left, my quad injury came back. I had to see the physio again. I underwent treatment, we were playing against Swallows, I think we won 1-0. It was the first game,” Pule explained on the Bucs Camp2 TV show.
“Then on that Sunday, because we played on Saturday, I went out with my wife and the child. We were joined by Tshego and his family.
“I wanted to go buy bread quickly. So, I went to the petrol station, bought the bread and an energy drink.
“I was parked near the entrance and when I went back to the car, I could feel there was someone behind me.
“As I opened my car door. A man attacked me from the back and said ‘Come!’. I begged them not to do anything to my wife and child and they agreed. They forced me into their car and that’s the last time I saw my car. So, they drove around with me the whole night.
“So, they wanted access to my banking apps. Mostly, they wanted access to my banking apps so they could withdraw money. They wanted my banking app pin so they could withdraw money at an ATM. They left my family at the petrol station and took my car. So, I last saw my family at the petrol station.
“I kept asking myself what happened to them because I didn’t see what happened to them. All I was thinking about while I was in the car was the whereabouts of my family.”
SPENDING FIVE TO SIX HOURS IN THE BOOT
As the ordeal was occurring, Pule spent long hours in the boot. He says the “thugs” drove with him around until they left him in the “middle of nowhere” in Soweto at midnight.
He had to run in the direction where cars were going in order to try and find his way back home. Reaching the petrol station put him at ease as he found an Uber driver who drove him home. However, he was still worried about the whereabouts of his wife and child.
“I was sitting in the backseat so they moved me and put me in the boot. So, I was in the boot for about five to six hours. They were driving around with me and left me in Soweto in the middle of nowhere. I think it was around 1h15 am.
“I didn’t know anyone there or anything, I had to figure out how to get back home. So, I think what helped me was that, I don’t know but I wasn’t terrified, do you understand? I think that’s what helped me because if I was terrified I wasn’t going to make it back home. I’d come across people and you never know with people. So, I had find a way home. I told myself I was going to get home.
‘THAT WAS A VERY DIFFICULT TIME’
“I started running. I saw cars and I followed their direction. Luckily, I came across a petrol station and I asked the staff to take me home. They told me they didn’t know anyone in that area. So, luckily, an Uber arrived, I asked the Uber driver to take me home. I told him I was hijacked. He didn’t even recognize me. When he looked properly, he recognized me. He agreed to help me and take me home.
“He drove me from the petrol station [Soweto] to my house. Most of the time I was thinking about my child and wife and if those thugs had left them behind or taken them with. They had taken all our phones. I asked myself if they left them behind or not. So, but then as they were talking, I am a person who believes in prayer. If I feel like something isn’t right, I pray.
“Until I asked those guys about my family. They told me that they left them behind. I think that’s what helped me calm down. And before all of that, while we were out, I was happy with my family. We danced and we had fun. The baby [child] was happy.
“At the time I wondered if that was the last time they’d see me, you know? We were all very happy. I was just thinking of what the thugs were going to do to me. Were they going to kill me? As long as my family was safe, I didn’t mind whatever happened to me, so that was a very difficult time,” Vincent Pule added.
Story by Mashale Mpho Mabotja