HARARE – Zimbabwean international Khama Billiat has described the moment he was caught in the middle of an armed robbery in Johannesburg, South Africa last month as “like a scene from a Hollywood action movie”.
The Mamelodi Sundowns forward had visited an Engen service station convenience store to buy a pre-paid electricity token and fill up his vehicle when armed men raided the place.
Billiat, together with other shoppers, were not harmed as the robbers took cash and other valuables from the shop.
The incident attracted a lot of media attention since Billiat is one of the most easily recognisable football stars in the Super Diski.
Some reports suggested the Zimbabwean had lost a valuable wrist watch and cash during the robbery.
Billiat, however, revealed that the perpetrators did not lay hands on him but the Aces Youth Academy graduate was left shocked by the incident.
“Nothing happened to me,” Billiat told South African media this week. “They were not robbing me. They were robbing a shop.
“They just stopped me and told me not to do anything and step aside with others. We stopped, they did whatever they did. I was happy that I was not robbed.
“When they started, I was shocked with what they were doing. But they told us to stay there and they were not doing anything to us, but they were here for this (robbery).
“They were carrying big AK-47s and covered with balaclavas. It was like watching a movie.”
At the moment, Billiat, who helped Sundowns to African Champions League glory last year, is sidelined by injury since last month but has started light training.
“I am back and started running now, but on the side. We are still testing if I can go full out.
“It looks positive and hopefully I will be back soon when the domestic league starts again,” he said.
Billiat’s close encounter with the robbers reminded South Africa and the rest of the continent of the tragic passing of former Bafana Bafana and Orlando Pirates goalkeeper Senzo Meyiwa, who was killed during a robbery in October 2014.
Meyiwa was visiting his girlfriend Kelly Khumalo when two robbers entered the house and demanded cell phones from all the occupants inside.
However, the robbery turned nasty when the thugs opened fire hitting Meyiwa in the chest.
The Ghosts goalkeeper was pronounced dead on arrival at hospital plunging the entire football world into shock.
At the time of his death, Meyiwa was at the peak of his game after establishing himself as South Africa’s number 1.
Thousands of South Africans, including politicians, business and community leaders thronged the Moses Mabida Stadium for Meyiwa’s funeral which was screened live on television.
Up to this day, no suspects have been charged with Meyiwa’s murder although police briefly arrested two males but they were released.
With at least 49 murders per day, South Africa is one of the countries with the highest homicide rates on the continent.
Most of the homicides go unsolved as the law enforcement agents are greatly under-resourced to deal with high crime rate.