'I did not step into Woolworths': Mercedes-driving 'looter' speaks out

13 July 2021 - 18:51 By shonisani tshikalange
People looting a shop in the Springfield Value Centre in Durban flee from a police officer on July 12 2021 as riots continued under the hashtags #FreeJacobZuma and #KZNShutdown on social media.
People looting a shop in the Springfield Value Centre in Durban flee from a police officer on July 12 2021 as riots continued under the hashtags #FreeJacobZuma and #KZNShutdown on social media.
Image: SANDILE NDLOVU

“I picked up things that were outside, not inside. I did not step inside Woolworths.”

A 26-year-old caught on video picking up a shopping basket and putting it inside his car on Monday in KZN said the whole thing has been taken out of context.

He insisted in an interview with TimesLIVE that he was not looting.

“What is happening right now is that I am being threatened over something that is completely taken out of context. The act of yesterday, of picking up a basket that was outside Woolworths and raking up a few items on the floor outside the actual establishment, is now taken out of context and is now stipulated as a black man in a Mercedes-Benz looting.

“People are proclaiming that I was looting, did anyone see me go into Woolworths? I never even walked into Woolworths, the basket that I had in my hand was from outside the shop. I did not go into Woolworths. I am not going to understand anyone that is going to proclaim and say that I am looting,” he said.

He said he had gone out with his sister to buy her sanitary towels and other essentials.

“Our mandate to leave the house was to go get her sanitary pads and essentials. On the way, we bumped into ongoing looting at the store.”

He said he instructed his sister to remain in the car while he got out.

“So I leave her in the car and I pick up a basket that was outside, among the chaos that was going on, I picked up the basket and raked whatever I can find on the floor and I take it with me. Is that looting?” he said.

He said he was able to pick up some milk, juice and washing powder.

The owner of a small medical centre in the Diepkloof mall in Soweto, Dr Thabile Vezi, arrived at work on Tuesday July 13 2021 to discover that her business had been overrun and looted.

The 26-year-old said his family was now receiving threats as a result of the incident and the widely shared video.

“I now have people threatening my family over such a misconceived video. There is a misconception about that whole video, I haven’t had the chance to say anything about it.

“The car is not even mine, it’s my father's. I am now having people threatening me, my sister is being threatened, she is an 18-year-old writing her first-year exams online and she is now being threatened by a person who doesn’t understand what is going on,” he said.

He said he was scared that people might attack his parents while driving the car.

“I am now considered as a person who broke into a shopping mall. Bear in mind that I got cash to pay for anything that I picked up. The things that I picked up I can be able to pay for them cash if it can make this thing stop.

“I am not happy about this ... At the end of the day there is no need for me to go to the police right now because they are not going to be understanding of anything I say,” he said.

TimesLIVE

Aerial footage showed mobs ransacking and setting ablaze shopping malls and buildings in cities across SA on July 13 2021. The international media has since picked up on the mass looting which has brought certain areas of South Africa to a standstill.

Aerial footage showed mobs ransacking and setting ablaze shopping malls and buildings in cities across SA on July 13 2021. The international media has since picked up on the mass looting which has brought certain areas of South Africa to a standstill.

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