Fierce rivalry between two spaza shop owners has resulted in a police investigation, after one shop owner allegedly threatened to kill the other’s mother.
Sidonie Tshitita, 31, says since she opened her grocery store on Voortrekker Road in Parow in July, she has been threatened by men claiming to work for the owner of Parow Café, warning her to close her shop.
She says the men have smashed windows and threw a petrol bomb at her store.
“My mother, aged 69, came all the way from Congo and we look after her. We opened the shop for her and she sells groceries, cooldrinks and chips and other things. She runs the shop, but I am the owner,” explains Sidonie.
“When we came here in July, we were told that the Pakistani owners at Parow Café don’t like other shops to compete with them, but we ignored it because we are a small shop.”
She says on 12 October, she was in the store with her mother when four men came in and held them at gunpoint.
“The one man told us we are making problems for his boss and pointed that way (to Parow Café). They told us we must close the shop and go. They had a gun and told us they’re not going to use it that day, but we must go.”
The men allegedly smashed the front window of the store a week later.
Sidonie reported the matter to Parow Police Station, but says she was told there was not enough evidence to question the other shop owners.
Last week she says someone threw a petrol bomb in the shop, but they managed to douse the fire before it could spread.
She says since erecting a business sign on the pavement with her contact details, she has been recei- ving death threats.
In a recorded phone call, a man can be heard saying: “I am sorry they are going to be killing the old lady.”
But Parow Café owner, Rana Khan, denies threatening Sidonie.
He says his store has been open for more than 50 years and he did not regard her as competition.
“Why are they talking like that about me? They don’t have any proof,” said Rana.
“I don’t have any problem with them and I didn’t ask her to close. That one is f****** stupid and crazy.”
Police spokesperson, Captain FC van Wyk, confirms that an intimidation case has been opened, but no arrests have been made.
“No incident of vandalising and petrol bomb attack can be confirmed. The case was closed by the detective branch as undetected,” he says.
He urged Sidonie to speak to the station commander at Parow SAPS.
She says she went on Monday, but the station commander was not available.