Havoc broke loose in the Pietermaritzburg CBD on Thursday morning after a security guard from a supermarket allegedly gunned down a man believed to be a customer.
In a voice recording circulated on WhatsApp groups, a man in a panicked state is heard pleading for assistance.
“The situation is getting very volatile. They’ve started to stone vehicles. We’re stuck inside,” says the man as gunshots continue ringing in the background.
Several videos were also being shared on social networks, showing crowds of people gathered outside the supermarket’s parking lot, which had been locked.
Eyewitnesses told The Witness that a man, believed to have been a customer, was shot dead allegedly by a security officer at Siyaya Cash and Carry supermarket.
It is alleged that the man went to buy his stock at the supermarket when he had an altercation with a security guard over a till slip, and the security guard shot him.
“When we heard the gunshots we ran to check what was happening and we saw him lying down and the security was shooting him even when he was down.
“He died on the spot and that is what angered the community members who then started to throw stones,” he said.
He said the man who was killed sold cooldrinks at the Imbali Taxi Rank and had gone to the supermarket to order more stock when he was shot.
When The Witness arrived at the scene people had gathered outside as the supermarket was already closed with police tapes.
According to Lucas Holtzhausen of Msunduzi’s Safe City, unconfirmed reports indicate that a security guard at the supermarket shot at a person and the commotion escalated fast after that.
“From our city cameras we could see that people started gathering around the shop but the shop owners had already managed to lock the gates.
“There were also vagrants there and they started stoning random vehicles passing by.
“We were able to call SAPS and the PoP [Public Order Policing] unit arrived and have managed to disperse the crowds,” said Holtzhausen on Thursday morning.
Holtzhausen said he could not confirm if shots were fired as the Safe City cameras do not pick up sound, but said he presumed that they were shots fired as people could be seen running at the height of the commotion.
*This is a developing story