heist recalled

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

A Honeydew Pick 'n Pay supermarket supervisor yesterday recalled how a gang, armed to the teeth, stormed into the chain store as she was cashing up.

Twelve men and a woman standing trial in the Johannesburg high court for an armed robbery at Pick 'n Pay and the ensuing Jeppestown shooting which left 12 people dead, have pleaded not guilty to all 23 counts.

Supervisor Sarah Marumole said she was cashing up in a room inside the store when she noticed on a CCTV camera screen that there was a man at the door.

"I did not open because nobody is allowed in except the managers and security guards. The man disappeared and came back with the manager, Dirk Buys. It was only after I let them in that I noticed he had a gun on Dirk's back," she said.

Marumole, who was six months pregnant at the time, said they were ordered to lie down while the robbers took all the money.

"They then demanded the tape from the CCTV and left," she said.

On the first day of the trial yesterday, all 13 accused denied any involvement in the incident.

But, only one accused, Zinto Mqunu, 27, provided an alibi, saying he was found at the scene of the shooting because he had gone to the house in Jeppestown to see a traditional healer. The others chose to remain silent.

The group is accused of robbing the supermarket on June 25 2006. On that day, 11 of the accused allegedly gunned down four policemen and eight of their own were killed by police during a standoff at the house.

Joanne Brown, the first victim, described how she was robbed of her handbag in the parking lot of the supermarket.

"I use the disabled parking because I have an artificial leg. On that day, I had gone to the complex to do shopping, but as I stepped out of my car, I turned around to see a black man standing in front of me.

"He demanded my handbag and I was so shocked that I just gave it to him. I think he might have had a gun and that must have intimidated me," Brown said.

Brown said after the robber left, she realised there were more of them when she heard gunshots, screaming and men shouting for people to lie down inside the supermarket.

" I decided to sit in the gutter next to my car and not enter the supermarket. A few minutes later the men came out. One of them had my handbag over his shoulder. They ran towards the same direction, and then I heard gunshots again before they all disappeared," she said.

The trial continues.