The incident happened early Tuesday morning when a 23-year-old man from Phillipi bought R12 Vodacom airtime which had invalid numbers and could not be recharged.
The man went back to the shop and demanded his money back, a few seconds later an argument erupted when the owner of the shop refused to refund the man and said the airtime had already been used.
Abdul Sahib, who served the man when he bought the airtime, said the man came back with his friends and attacked him and started looting and vandalized the shop and residents came in and participated.
“It was in the blink of an eye when I saw these people destroying our shop and at the time I had suffered minor injuries on my left arm because they threw stones at me when I tried to close the door.
I went out and ran to the nearest police station and when I came back everything was gone. They took the stock, blankets, bed, and cash machine and threw petrol bombs inside the shop. Now we are left with nothing”
Local resident Malusi Nyanda who witnessed the incident says he is not surprised by the incident. “Over the past couple of months there have been grievances from residents besides the invalid airtime issue. I have heard a number of complaints about expired stock that is sold by the Somalians.
Even I once had an incident where I bought 10kgs of maize meal only to find out that it is rotten. It had worms inside of it and when I tried to talk to the owner of the shop he said there is no refund after a day has gone by. I tried to explain to him that I went back to the shop but they had already closed so I came back in the morning and I did not get my money back.”
The police intervened just after the shop had been set on fire. Eight people have been arrested and will appear in the Philippi Magistrates court on the 2nd of October.