September 1 2015 | Cape Town – A Somali shop owner said that his Cape Town home was ransacked by suspected gangsters after he refused to pay “taxes” and protection money.
He was left with just the clothes on his back after alleged members of the 28s gang robbed him.
Abdul Muhammed, 34, said he’s been trading at his spaza shop in Olienhout Street, Netreg, for seven years without any problems.
He said last Tuesday a group of men came into his house and stripped it bare.
The gang arrived in a bakkie as well as a horse and cart.
Abdul said: “There were such a lot of them, they even came through the roof.”
Neighbours were too afraid to interfere and could only watch helplessly as the alleged gangsters helped themselves to Abdul’s taps, sinks, furniture, clothing and shop stock.
“I stood and watched because if you interfere they come after you,” a witness said.
“They want him to pay taxes, but that isn’t right.”
Community leaders say they have since called on Pagad to rescue Abdul and other Somali traders in the area.
Gangsters have apparently been collecting protection money from other Somali traders for months, and Abdul was the only one who had refused to pay up.
The trader said: “They wanted me to pay taxes but the Muslim community said I must refuse, this was after another Somali shop also opened here.
“I [have been] staying here seven years and I never had a problem.”
Asked if he would be calling upon the People Against Gangsterism and Drugs to assist him, Abdul answered: “I don’t want any trouble now, I just want to open my shop.”
Abdul said the alleged gangsters even tore out his bathroom and kitchen sinks, leaving him without a place to wash himself.
“They took my television, DVD, DStv, fridge, clothing, washing machine and even my sinks and taps… I can’t even wash my face,” said Abdul, standing inside a room where there is only a single bed left.
A community worker, who asked not to be named, said they have approached Pagad for help: “The leader of the 28s in Kreefgat and his brother are (dealing in) tik and they are asking for taxes from the shops, that is why they vandalised the shop.”
Ayesha Allie of Pagad said she was not aware of the Kreefgat request, and advised residents to come to Pagad’s office in Athlone.
Ayesha added: “We advise people to come to our offices if they want assistance.”
Netreg ward councillor Nas Abrahams said he knows about the robbery but was not aware of the tax and protection money scheme.
Abrahams said: “I came to know about the tax issue via hearsay but I do not have evidence.”
Police spokesman Captain FC van Wyk has confirmed that the matter is being investigated: “The police opened a malicious damage of property case, but no member of the public or complainant wants to give statements.”