“A customer, who allegedly stabbed two shopkeepers for refusing to sell cigarettes to him, has been arrested for murder. One of the victims [sustained] a knife wound to the neck,” reports News24.
The incident took place on Wednesday evening in Malmesbury in the Western Cape.
When police arrived at the scene, one of the shopkeepers – a 27-year-old man – had already died. “The second victim was taken to a local hospital, where he’s currently being treated for his injuries,” says National Police Spokesperson Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo.
The suspected assailant had fled the scene, but police received a tip-off as to his whereabouts. He was arrested on Thursday at about 4am in Belhar, 70km away in Kalbaskraal, adds Naidoo.
Some South Africans are battling to come to terms with the banning of alcohol and cigarettes during the country’s 35-day lockdown. Many had hoped that the provision to ban the sale of these goods would be lifted on Wednesday, which would have marked the end of the initial lockdown instituted by the President on 26 March. Despite pressure from the Gauteng Liquor Council and disgruntled consumers to relax the restriction, however, the government has stuck to its decision and the ban still stands.
Among the organisations who’ve vociferously protested the ban is British American Tobacco SA (BATSA), which noted that forcing smokers to go cold turkey – at a time when they’re already under extreme stress, due to the lockdown – would have unintended consequences.
“The ban on cigarette sales under the lockdown regulations will have a number of unintended consequences. Firstly, it will unintentionally force 11 million smokers to go outside their neighbourhoods in search of outlets willing to defy the ban, as we’ve seen in some media reports. This would lead to greater movement of people and more interactions than if smokers were able to buy cigarettes at their nearest legal outlet at the same time that they buy all their essential goods,” it said in a statement.
Additional reporting: News24