Soweto shooting: 'IT WAS mayhem'

FATALITIES: A security guard and two customers were shot dead during an armed robbery at Pick n Pay in Soweto on Tuesday. Pic: MOHAU MOFOKENG. 12/01/2010.  © Sowetan.
FATALITIES: A security guard and two customers were shot dead during an armed robbery at Pick n Pay in Soweto on Tuesday. Pic: MOHAU MOFOKENG. 12/01/2010. © Sowetan.

A WORKER at a Soweto supermarket has described how she and her colleagues watched in horror as robbers and security guards exchange fire a few metres from where she was hiding.

The shooting took place at Pick n Pay in Senaoane at about 10am on Tuesday. No arrests have been made.

"It was so sudden," said 33-year-old Nthabiseng Lepheane. "It left me numb. I was very shocked. I thought a lot of people were hit and died."

Lepheane and about 20 other supermarket employees were treated for shock by a chaplain at the Moroka police station after the robbery. They were later sent home.

Police spokesperson Captain Mpande Khoza said six men arrived at the supermarket in a Ford Focus and two of them entered the store.

"They waited until a security guard fetched money and then drew their guns," he said.

"The robbers pointed their guns at the guard and ordered him to drop the money," Khoza said.

"When the driver of the security van heard the shots he opened fire. It was mayhem. A robber was injured during the shooting but his accomplices pulled him into the getaway car.

"Some of the robbers fled on foot."

The robbers got away with an undisclosed amount of money.

A security guard was certified dead on the scene and two customers were also fatally wounded.

Others who were injured were taken to the Chris Hani-Baragwanath Hospital.

Lepheane said the ordeal lasted about 10 minutes.

"We thought the two men were customers, until they pulled out their guns and ordered the guard to drop the cashbox," she said.

"The thugs ordered us to lie down while they exchanged fire with the security guards.

"When the robbers left I went to check whether the people who had been shot were still alive and then we called the police.

"I thank God I'm alive. Anything could have happened to me."

Lepheane was back at work yesterday.

"There is still tension in the air though everything seems to be back to normal," she observed.

X