Early yesterday evening in Orlando East, a group of men in a mini-bus forced an Ethiopian shop owner into their vehicle, robbed him of his stock, and after driving around with him captive in the taxi eventually dropped him off in another part of Soweto.
The shopkeeper, known as Nathi in the Soweto township where he has had a spaza shop since 2011, said he was on his way from buying airtime, chips, sweets and biscuits from Bara Mall when a group of men jumped out from a white Toyota Quantum, cornered him, and forced him inside the vehicle.
“It was in front of the Somali shop that side [signalling around the corner]. I was coming from buying stock there at Bara Mall. They were waiting for me there and put me inside the taxi,” the Ethiopian national explained.
He said the men did not beat him, all they did was take his stock and the cash he had on him.
“Yah and then they dropped me off in Meadowlands. I asked somebody to help me with transport,” he said, explaining how he had managed to make it back home.
The Ethiopian national, who says he moved to South Africa because of the war in his country that made it difficult to find a job and support himself and family, was reluctant to report the incident to the police, because he felt there was nothing they could do.
In a telephone conversation Warrant Officer Mabaso, from Orlando East Police Station, said the SAPS station had not received a report of the incident and no case had been filed.
The officer did mention that he remembered two similar incidents that happened last year, one in Dube and another in Mzimhlope.
Although he could not remember the details and whether or not any suspects had been arrested, both cases involved foreign-owned spaza shops that had been robbed by men in taxi buses.
Despite the incident, Nathi had carried on trading as usual, till late into the night.
At ten in the evening his was the sole light to be seen on an otherwise dark street of lightless lamp posts.