South African opposition party leader Mmusi Maimane has called for a renewed fight against crime after falling victim to a robbery at a Cape Town bar.
Maimane was at the bar in Claremont with a family member, who was visiting from overseas, on Wednesday night. Shortly after they walked in, three armed men entered the restaurant.
“I didn’t immediately realise a robbery was taking place because the waitress asked the men if they wanted a table for three,” the One South Africa Movement said.
The men then started brandishing weapons and ordered the bartender to hand over cash while forcing patrons to get under their tables. They then proceeded to rob patrons of cellphones, bags, and jewellery.
Maimane described the moment as “like something out of a movie”. He said patrons had left the premises “traumatised beyond words” and said the robbers were “obviously professionals”.
Police spokesperson Sergeant Wesley Twigg said police were investigating a case of business robbery at a Claremont restaurant. The robbery took place at around 19:45.
“According to reports, unknown suspects entered the restaurant and threatened the supervisor and staff with a firearm. The suspects fled the scene with cellular telephones and an undisclosed amount of cash. No shots were fired, and no injuries were reported,” said Twigg.
Maimane said the robbery was over quickly, with security guards who had been alerted to the robbery giving chase but failing to apprehend the gunmen.
“You think of what could have been. Crime in our nation is out of control. I wonder and lament the lives of all people that were shot at a tavern. They, like us, went out to have a drink and they lost their lives,” he said.
Maimane said that although police officers responded promptly, he still had doubts as to whether any arrests would be made.
“I don’t give up on our crime. We have to fight. We have to ensure policing is effective and the criminal justice system works… Put fear back into criminals, and not on citizens.
“We have a long way to go, starting with the best minister of police [and] a government that will ensure the safety of its citizens,” he added.