Three people have been arrested after robbing a Shoprite supermarket in Westonaria, Johannesburg, on Monday.
Two more robbers are on the run, in possession of an undisclosed amount of cash, cellphones and cigarettes.
Police have launched a manhunt for the two robbers who fled.
An employee of the store told News24 that, as they were reporting for work around 05:00, they were confronted by armed men at the door.
“On my arrival, the door was opened and, as I was about to enter, I was confronted by a man wielding a pistol. He ordered me not to move and demanded my cellphone.
“I refused to give him my phone and the gunman ordered me to join my other colleagues, who were held at gunpoint inside the store.
“I joined my colleagues and there I saw three other men who were all armed with pistols. The robbers gave us chocolates from the store to eat in order to calm down. I then saw the men carrying bags of cash,” said the employee.
The robbers also took cellphones from employees.
Police spokesperson Captain Mavela Masondo said police swiftly responded to the scene.
Masondo said the robbers who fled the scene opened fire at the police officers responding to the crime.
“Upon arrival at the scene, police noticed four suspects on top of the roof of the supermarket. The suspects started shooting at the police, and a shootout ensued.
“Three suspects, aged between 40 and 43, were arrested and an unlicensed firearm was recovered. Police are searching for two more suspects that escaped from the scene,” Masondo said.
A case of business robbery, attempted murder and possession of unlicensed firearm has been opened for investigation.