robbery suspect scared witness

Dudu Busani

Dudu Busani

Honeydew Pick 'n Pay supermarket employees had to be treated for shock after the trauma they suffered during a robbery at the store.

In fact, cash supervisor Sarah Marumole was so traumatised she could not point out any of the alleged robbers during an identification parade. Several days later, she was still afraid that the men would come back to get her.

She said she recognised the man who pointed a gun at her but was scared to point him out.

Twelve men and a woman are standing trial in the Johannesburg High Court for robbing the supermarket and being involved in the bloody 'Jeppestown gun-battle' with police.

The shoot-out at a private house left four policemen and eight robbers dead.

"I was afraid to point him out because I was not certain that I would be safe afterwards," Marumole said yesterday.

Marumole, who is the second state witness, was given a pile of photographs from where she pointed out one of the men as a robber she saw on the day of the incident.

However, the defence argued that they had not been notified about the photographs and that Marumole had seen them before, meaning she could have already known who to point out.

Senzo Mweli, 26, Nkosinathi Mchunu, 31, Sizwe Mbuyazi, 25, Khumbulani Mabaso, 33, Sizwe Dlamini, 21, Sihle Mdunge, 25, Muzulelwa Vezi, 28, Siyanda Mngomezulu, 23, Linda Hlongwa, 22, Bekokwakhe Zulu, 28, Mkhonzeni Sesiba, 29 and Zinto Mqunu, 27, allegedly conspired with Maria Maleke, 29, to rob the supermarket on June 25, 2006. Maleke was an employee at the Pick 'n Pay at the time.

When state witness Fikile Lusithi, a Pick an Pay cashier, was asked is she knew Maleke, she identified her as a former colleague who used to work at the Fruit and Vegetables section.

Another state witness, Alice Mzizi, who was also a supervisor at the supermarket, testified that on the day of the incident, the first thing she heard was a gunshot while working at the cigarette counter.

"I panicked and tried to run to the nearest office. But I was soon stopped by a man who was carrying a shopping basket. He had a gun in his other hand. At gunpoint, he forced me to open the tills where he took all the money and put it in shopping bags. When I was on the eighth till, he just left. They were all leaving, but there was still the man with a big gun at the door," she said.

The trial continues.