Marikos “Alex” Lombiso died alone as he had locked himself in his spaza shop, a converted container, before he was shot. Locals used an axe to break down the door to get to him, but it was too late.
His friend, Siyabonga Mthembu, was with him moments before the shooting.
“We were sitting outside the shop. Alex and I were talking about the new house I moved into when two men arrived and sat down next to us. Three more men followed,” Mthembu said.
“One of them asked to buy a cigarette. When Alex left to get it, one of the young men followed him. Alex entered the shop and closed the door behind him.
“The young man carrying the gun demanded he (Alex) open the door and give him money,” Mthembu said.
The young man apparently then went to the door and fired a shot into the shop, hitting Lombiso.
Mthembu said while this was happening, the other men held him up with knives and a gun.
He said they took his cellphone and told him to leave not to call the police.
He said he ran across the road to a relative’s home while the thugs tried to force the container door open by kicking it in.
The shop was in Dombi Majozi’s yard.
The death of the Ethiopian national has left her shattered.
“He was like my child. He never fought with anyone. He was a nice person. This has really hurt us as a community,” she said.
Majozi said she heard a loud noise, like a door being slammed.
“I then heard someone cry. I thought it was children playing around and wanted to tell them to keep quiet because my husband was asleep.”
She went outside and heard that Lombiso had been shot.
“I called his name from outside the shop, but he was quiet. We then tried to open the door, but it was locked. We had to use a pick axe to pry it open. When it finally opened, I saw Alex in a pool of blood,” she said.
Majozi, trying not to cry, said this had left her depressed and she questioned why Lombiso was killed.
His family were inconsolable at the scene.
Lombiso’s cousin, Wondiu Asafa, said he had spoken with him earlier in the morning about stock-taking and hours later he heard he had been killed.
A shocked Asafa said: “I am very sad and also very angry about what happened. I hope they (the robbers) get caught. He was a good person and he was my best friend.”
Captain Nqobile Gwala, provincial police spokesperson, said the robbers ran away and no arrests had been made.