An owner of a supermarket in Middelburg is thankful to be alive after a horror ordeal yesterday morning.
Mahomed Cassim of Eastdene’s Saverite Supermarket was held at gunpoint and left for dead as three criminals robbed his store and left it in flames.
The Middelburg Observer spoke with Mahomed this morning, and he said he was opening the store’s front shutters in the early hours when he suddenly felt a handgun at the back of his head.
“Don’t move, or I’ll blow your head off!” The gunman forced Mahomed inside and told him to open the shop’s back entrance where two other robbers were lying in wait.
Mahomed was told not to look around or at the three criminals, who were all masked in balaclavas, as they made their way into Saverite.
They then forced him to open the store’s three ATMs, and then separated into different areas of the store.
The gunman remained with the terrified shop owner, while the others looted the cellphone kiosk and the cashier floats. Tensions rose when one of the criminals returned from Mahomed’s office empty-handed.
They then forced him to lie on the ground and stare at the floor, and the gunman repeatedly kicked the 64-year-old.
“Don’t look back, or I will blow your head off!” repeated the gunmen as they demanded that Mahomed take them upstairs and hand over his ‘gold Krugerrand coins’.
Mahomed was, however, confused as he had no Krugerrands. He didn’t even have a safe upstairs, as the area is mostly filled with invoices.
He offered to take the criminals upstairs to show them that he had nothing of value, but this answer seemed to infuriate the three robbers, as they then taped Mahomed’s mouth shut and tied his hands behind his back.
Fortunately, there was an issue with their tape as they attempted to tie Mahomed’s feet, so in frustration, they left his legs unbound.
Mahomed lay on the ground, where he prayed he would make it out alive and see his family again. He then heard a massive explosion from upstairs, which he described as sounding like a ‘bomb’.
The injured and frightened Mahomed then found the strength he needed to get up and desperately make his way towards the back entrance of the store.
He told the publication he had begged God that the back door wasn’t locked, and miraculously, it wasn’t. Mahomed despairingly kicked the door open with his feet and made his way onto the street.
He was gagged, with his hands restrained as he ran to a local security company’s office nearby. He knocked on their door with kick after kick, but to no avail, as this was at roughly 05:15.
Luckily, a fruit and vegetable vendor recognised Mahomed and rushed over to offer him aid. Mahomed proceeded to call the fire brigade, as the flames from the explosions had begun to burn his entire life’s work to ash.
Mahomed is grateful to be alive and thanks the community for their well wishes and support during this difficult period.
Read original story on www.citizen.co.za