Abduraghmaan, 49, and Suraya Roopen, 50, have been the caretakers of the Sheikh Noorul Mubeen Kramat, known as the 99 Steps in Oudekraal, for four years.
Abduraghmaan says he was woken up by his wife at about 4am after she heard a noise.
“I was feeling uneasy all day and was on guard, so when Suraya woke me, I got up and saw four black males,” he explains.
“I opened the door and asked them what they wanted. They said ‘ons soek plek om te slaap’. One of the men then got aggressive and I shut the door and they tried to enter.”
He wrestled with the men, holding the door shut, and then heard shots going off.
“They broke the wooden door and I just saw sparks. This person was firing in an upward way. I shouted to Suraya to call the police, I did not know what to do, knowing my wife was here and my mother was sleeping,” he says.
He says the gang ransacked the house and stole jewellery, their cellphones and clothing.
Suraya adds: “Three men came in and as I was calling the police, they grabbed the phone from me. I heard how Abduraghmaan was scuffling with them outside.”
At one point her mother-in-law woke up and also went outside.
“When I came out, Abduraghmaan was chasing after them down the steps. My mother-in-law was thrown in a ditch. I pulled her into the kramat for safety,” Suraya says.
Abduraghmaan says the men fled in a black Toyota Corolla Bubble.
He suffered several injuries and bruises to his shoulder and hip slashes to his leg and foot and a gash to his head.
Suraya says they’ve been having sleepless nights since the incident.
“We have been feeling safe here for years, now I am fearful at night,” she says.
Police spokesperson, Lieutenant-Colonel André Traut, says: “Three occupants of the house were attacked by a group of suspects who are yet to be arrested.”
The head of the Muslim Cemetery Board and the second deputy president of the MJC, Sheikh Riad Fataar, said the council was saddened to hear of the attack on those who preserved sacred burial sites in Islam.
“The increase of crime and gangsterism has led to unsafe conditions at cemeteries and we call on the SAPS and the authorities to fulfil their responsibility towards the protection of all communities,” said Fataar.
The couple’s home is located metres away from the isolated shrine, with no other houses in sight. They have no water or electricity and use solar power and spring water.
Sheikh Mubeen, for whom the kramat is named, was a political prisoner banished to the Cape in 1716 and held on Robben Island.