‘It was long­est 10 min­utes of my life’

Sur­vivor re­calls bru­tal pub rob­bery

Sunday World - - Sunday Report - By Thuso Magano mag­a­[email protected]­day­world.co.za

A sec­re­tary of the South African Stu­dents Congress (Sasco) at the Univer­sity of Jo­han­nes­burg had his life cut short a few weeks af­ter com­plet­ing his mar­ket­ing de­gree, dur­ing a bru­tal armed rob­bery at a Tsh­wane pub.

In­stead of spend­ing his fes­tive sea­son gali­vant­ing on the streets of his home town in Soshanguve, Shaun Tha­bang Muridili scored him­self a hol­i­day job as a bar ten­der at a lo­cal pub but that be­came a case of be­ing at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Muridili, 22, who was sup­posed to grad­u­ate in March, was shot and killed at point blank range when a gang of about 15 rob­bers stormed the Mochoma Grills, a pub in Soshanguve, in the early hours of Mon­day morn­ing.

An­other em­ployee, Tumi Montshiwa, was also shot and killed dur­ing the chaotic rob­bery that left more than 15 pa­trons hos­pi­talised with dif­fer­ent in­juries.

Muridili and Montshiwa were buried yes­ter­day in Soshanguve and Mahikeng, North West, re­spec­tively.

A third em­ployee lived to tell the gory de­tails of how his col­leagues were mowed down in front of him.

Solomon Ko­fang was left nurs­ing his wounds af­ter he was shot in the waist and left

I was paral­ysed with shock and laid on my stom­ach pre­tend­ing to be dead. One of the rob­bers turned me around. Solomon Ko­fang MOCHOMA GRILLS STAFFER

for dead on the floor be­hind the counter.

Ko­fang, 29, told Sun­day World dur­ing a visit to the pub this week that af­ter the rob­bers broke the se­cu­rity gate and ac­cessed their bar be­hind the counter, they shot at them ran­domly.

“Af­ter we all fell to the ground, they started by fin­ish­ing off Shaun, who was ly­ing next to me on the floor. I was paral­ysed with shock and laid on my stom­ach pre­tend­ing to be dead,” said Ko­fang.

“One of the rob­bers came and turned me around. I was in ex­cru­ci­at­ing pain but I had to hold my breath. He saw blood ooz­ing out of my wound as well as nose and ears and thought I was also dead. It was the long­est 10 min­utes of my life.”

Ko­fang said he had been work­ing at the pub for three years and it had been the safest he had been to.

“We have never even had drunken brawls be­fore. It is a peace­ful joint where ev­ery­body knows each other.

“I have not slept at all since the in­ci­dent. I am trau­ma­tised. My col­leagues died in front of me.”

The pub’s owner, Te­bogo Masipa, said he was sad­dened by the in­ci­dent and be­lieved the mo­tive be­hind it was not rob­bery but jeal­ousy be­cause of the suc­cess of his busi­ness.

“It hurt me so much that I have lost my two hard-work­ing guys. Even though I am help­ing the fam­i­lies with the burial, my help could never be enough be­cause money can­not re­place the in­no­cent lives that were bru­tally taken away,” he said.

When the Sun­day World team ar­rived at the pub on Thurs­day, sev­eral peo­ple were mop­ping the blood­ied floors and sweep­ing bro­ken glasses and other items, in­clud­ing ear­rings.

“I have not con­sid­ered what the way for­ward will be but I can­not put the lives of the peo­ple in dan­ger for the sake of the busi­ness,” he said.

At Muridili’s home, one of his aunts, who did not iden­tify her­self, could not speak and just kept scrolling on her cell­phone look­ing at her nephew’s pic­tures.

The de­ceased’s un­cle, Chris Muridili, de­scribed his nephew as some­one who had a good heart and was loved by many.

“I last saw him in De­cem­ber last year be­cause I do not stay with them this side. My nephew liked to laugh and was am­bi­tious. He al­ways looked for­ward to be­ing a suc­cess­ful per­son in life.

“He was ded­i­cated to his stud­ies and his sec­ond love was pol­i­tics. We have lost and have been hurt by what hap­pened be­cause we ex­pected a bright fu­ture from him, not what hap­pened,” he said.

Soshanguve po­lice spokesper­son Por­tia Se­bone con­firmed the in­ci­dent and said no one has been ar­rested.

/Thu­lani Mbele

Mochoma Grills, the Tsh­wane pub where two peo­ple were killed and many were left in­jured in a brazen armed rob­bery.

Shaun Muridili was killed at a pub in Soshanguve.

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