ZIMBABWE – A 40-year-old woman has been treated for burn wounds in a hospital in Musina in Limpopo after she was doused with methylated spirits by employees at a SuperSpar for stealing food worth R25.

Three people were arrested following the incident and are due back in court in January 2021. The Spar Group said the store is independently owned. The company has, however, apologised.

Mavis* spoke to GroundUp on condition that her identity is withheld. She said she sustained burn wounds on her waist, arm, leg and va_gina.

“I was accommodated at a relative’s place but the relative was visiting her husband working in Pretoria.”

She said she had gone days without anything to eat and did not want to burden the landlord who was already caring for her relative’s three young children while she was away.

On 10 November, she said, “out of desperation I walked to Spar and stole a packet of meat worth R25. I walked out without anyone noticing me until some Spar workers approached me, requesting to know what I had bought. I never denied anything. I showed them the meat,” said Mavis.

She said though she explained her situation and apologised, the employees poured spirits onto her skirt and set it alight. “I asked for forgiveness but all fell on deaf ears. Some kicked me. I told them if they wanted to kill me then they should not make me suffer that way,” she said.

According to Mavis some Musina residents came to her rescue and called the police who responded quickly. The residents immediately demanded that the shop be closed. It re-opened the next day.

olonel Moathse Ngoepe from Musina SAPS said three people aged between 27 and 40 were arrested two days after the incident on 12 November 2020. Ngoepe said all three appeared at the Musina Magistrates Court on 13 November and were granted bail of R1,000 each.

40 year old woman set on fire for stealing meat

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