Woman insists they were locked inside a cold-room as Pick n Pay refutes

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Woman insists they were locked inside a cold-room as Pick n Pay refutes
WHAT HAPPENED?: EFF and ANCYL member shut down the Pick n Pay hypermarket in eMalahleni on Wednesday 16 September 2020 after rumours surfaced that two suspected female shoplifters were locked in a cold room and one of them later died. PICTURE BY 013NEWS/MLM

The supermarket says all is false and even CCTV footage can prove that.


One of the two women who were allegedly locked inside a Pick n Pay cold-room in Klipfontein, eMalahleni says she still remembers the day very well, how they were left to freeze inside a cold-room for 3 hours as punishment for shoplifting.

The woman’s friend 31-year-old Ntombifuthi Zitha died days later of pneumonia.

Thandi Masilela (33) said she was with Zitha on Tuesday afternoon 1 September 2020 doing shopping at the Klipfontein Pick n Pay when Zitha took blocks of cheese and hid them under her clothes.

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Somebody saw it and security guards were called to search them.

Woman insists they were locked inside a cold-room as Pick n Pay refutes
Ntombifuthi Zitha and Thandi Masilela after being caught allegedly stealing cheese at Pick n Pay

Masilela said after the guards had found the cheese from Zitha, they took both of them to the cold-room – where they were left to freeze for 3 hours before the police were called.

Woman insists they were locked inside a cold-room as Pick n Pay refutes
Thandi Masilela during an interview with eNCA on Wednesday 16 September 2020

The police and Pick n Pay have denied the allegations that the two women were put in a cold-room.

Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the two women were brought to them outside by the security guards at around 7pm.

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They took them to the police station and a case was not opened as “we were instructed to do more investigation when they appeared in court the following day”.

Pick n Pay corporate affairs head David North said the two women were taken to an office upstairs until the police arrived.

“At no point did the two women complain to staff or police that they were mistreated,” North said.

“The story is completely untrue,” he said.

The EFF and ANCYL protested outside the premises of the supermarket Wednesday 16 September, demanding that the company account for Zitha’s death.

Woman insists they were locked inside a cold-room as Pick n Pay refutes
EFF and ANCYL protesters stormed Pick n Pay supermarket in Klipfontein this week to demand justice for both Ntombifuthi Zitha and Thandi Masilela

Masilela said while they were in the cold-room Zitha took off her jacket and gave it to her as she was feeling cold and pain as a result of a surgical operation she recently underwent.

ANCYL leader Pascaline Mazibuko said Zitha was a mother of three and lived in the same Ackerville township as her.

Woman insists they were locked inside a cold-room as Pick n Pay refutes
Deceased Ntombifuthi Amanda Zitha who was allegedly caught lifting blocks of cheese and then died a few days later

Mazibuko said Zitha never had any pre-existing condition of pneumonia, while her post-mortem showed she died of it, and that was the result of being locked inside the fridge for hours.

Masilela was also admitted to hospital for pneumonia.

“Masilela was diagnosed with pneumonia at hospital. She has prescriptions from physicians,” Mazibuko told eNCA.

“The deceased left 3 children,” she said. “We want Pick n Pay to account after they wanted to convert their business into a mortuary. Pick n Pay should pay for the children left before they are old and should be charged with attempted murder and assassination. The medical costs must be paid for by Pick n Pay”.

(edited by MLM)

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