A man claims he was held at gunpoint while his store was robbed as multiple shops in the Cape Town suburb of Manenberg were looted by large groups of people on Tuesday during the third week of the nationwide lockdown, according to eyewitnesses.
Multiple videos have been doing the rounds showing the apparent looting.
According to one eyewitness, children were running on top of cars to get their hands on goods inside a shop that was being looted.
“Their mothers were telling them: Go! Go and get things,” said Noorieyah Ely outside Modack’s Supermarket near Nyanga Junction.
“They think this corona is a joke and they can loot everybody,” said Ely.
She said the authorities needed to be vigilant because looting may continue in other areas.
“This is going to spread.”
A man who described himself as a supervisor for a complex of shops, which includes a butchery, said a gun was put in his face by a known person while the store was looted.
“I was standing there and I saw seven to 15 guys come over and I thought they were coming to ask for a bread or something.
“I turned around and I looked into the firearm, it was directly in my face. The shot went off.”
He was not hit, but he was “totally destroyed” emotionally.
“I didn’t know where to go to.”
He said he felt that the “laaities” (youngsters) were looting places and using the names of gangs to blame other people for what they were doing.
“When is it going to stop?” he asked.
The lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa has limited people’s movements to essential shopping only.
However, it has also been accompanied by sudden incidents of looting.
A shop owner, named Nayan, originally from Bangladesh, said he had never experienced anything like it in South Africa before.
He said he had lost between R25 000 to R30 000 worth of nappies, baby formula, coffee and cash by the time the police arrived.
“I’m so upset,” he said.
Western Cape police have been approached for comment.