A second incident involving a white Toyota Quantum minibus, alleged to be bundling people into the vehicle and robbing them of their possessions at gun-point, happened again yesterday afternoon in Orlando East, Soweto.

This is after Wits Vuvuzela reported the kidnapping and robbery at gun-point of an Ethiopian store-owner on Saturday in Orlando East, under similar circumstances.

 

Latest kidnap and robbery

The same store-owner said today that three of his cousins were robbed of cellphones, cash and other valuables after they stopped a taxi hoping it would take them into the Johannesburg CBD.

A fourth man is alleged to have been with the three Ethiopian nationals, and boarded the taxi along with them, also under the impression that it would ferry them to town.

The man, thought to be a local, was also robbed at gun-point.

 

Residents who spoke to Wits Vuvuzela and had heard about the two incidents expressed shock, and feared that the criminal incidents might somehow be linked to the use of the drug naoype.

One resident, Collen, said he had only heard about incident that happened on Saturday.

“Eish, that means now we must start to boarding taxis early otherwise,” he said in isiZulu.

 

Another resident, Philile Mtanti, who uses the Metro bus service to get to and from work, said she was worried because sometimes she caught a taxi in the morning if she missed the bus.

“Maybe it’s the naoype boys. But where would they get a taxi?” Mthanti speculated.

 

Drugs or xenophobia?

While there is no conclusive evidence to show that the incidents are either naoype-linked or xenophobia-related, neither can be completely ruled out.

Many Orlando East residents fear what they call “nyaope boys”, and often blame them for petty crimes like theft of copper material from house numbers and tap fittings, as well as for more dangerous crimes such as early morning muggings and house break-ins.

Residents believe they commit crimes in order to feed their addiction to the drug, which is a mixture of any number of substances, but mainly heroin, antiretroviral medication, and rat poison.

The xenophobia link is less likely, but foreign shop owners are increasingly seen as easy targets, and because of their foreign status, as “outsiders” who deserve what they get.

So far, none of the cases have been reported to the police.