Stabbing outside Gugulethu eatery apparently one of many attacks in the vicinity

04 May 2017 - 15:53 By Emily Rizzo
File photo.
File photo.
Image: Gallo Images/ Thinkstock

Hlompo Mabena* had often heard about the popular Cape Town shisa nyama‚ Mzoli's Place‚ which draws tourists from around the world. But when Mabena finally visited the place he said he was attacked.

The alleged stabbing‚ in Gugulethu‚ has unleashed a flood of harrowing accounts on Facebook.

On Monday Mabena‚ on holiday from Johannesburg‚ took to social media to share this ordeal which took place outside the restaurant‚ which had even been frequented by local politicians‚ including Tony Yengeni.

His post‚ which included images of his bloody clothing‚ was shared more than 5‚000 times on Facebook and garnered thousands of comments. Many claimed that they or their friends also fell victim to crime in the vicinity. The comments ranged from support for Mabena - who chose the pseudonym for ''safety reasons'' - to personal accounts of stabbings‚ gunshots‚ and robberies outside of Mzoli’s.

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Mabena said he had heard ''great things'' about Mzoli's but before he even entered the restaurant he felt something on his neck. Then he was stabbed. None of Mzoli’s customers or employees‚ he said‚ offered to help. “I will never go back. I value my life way more‚” said Mabena.

“I thought this was a unique situation but then I started talking and people started sharing their stories. I’m not trying to tarnish his business but this post was just a warning. I want Mzoli to increase his security and I want people to continue to go. But one stabbing is one too many for a business. It shouldn’t be a norm‚” said Mabena.

One Facebook user commented: “In June 2014 my husband was shot for a phone which he gave the minute they demanded… To date‚ he can’t walk.”

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Another said: “Last year in March my girlfriend and her friends from Pretoria were attacked in broad daylight. Their sin was to converse in Setswana language. Before they could even order their meals‚ they were attacked and forced into a car…”

And one more shared an incident that happened the same day as Mabena’s.

“I witnessed two incidents of people getting robbed at gunpoint and people were watching‚ no assistance. Even those car guards tell you it’s normal…”

Tsitsi Chiumya‚ a Cape Town resident and comedian‚ recently experienced a robbery attempt outside of Mzoli’s. He was in his car when a man opened the door‚ attempting to steal his phone. Chiumya tried to defend himself. “I realised at that point that I would probably get stabbed. I was waiting for him to do it. Fortunately the fighting got a bit too much for him and he ran away‚” said Chiumya.

On Tuesday‚ May 3‚ owner Mzoli Ngcauzele's daughter‚ Sisanda Ngcauzele‚ who helps run the restaurant‚ was asked about the incident.

She said: “No I don’t know anything about it. People visit other businesses in the area. So whatever happens to them in other people’s... it always comes back to our brand name because it’s a well-known place. So other people don’t take responsibility."

Two days later she was contacted again and said she had been informed about the incident and is in contact with the police.

"SAPS are going to be patrolling the area‚'' Ngcauzele said.

In response to recent concerns over Mzoli’s safety Alan Winde‚ Western Cape MEC for tourism said: “We have a task team that will act with police and the tourism industry to find solutions to prevent crime. They will move in immediately and support the tourist industry in whatever way they can.”

* Not his real name

TMG Digital/TimesLIVE