Rapper Maraza is spitting fire over an alleged racial profiling incident at a Pick n Pay store where he was apparently followed and stopped by security to “verify” his purchase.
The musician told TshisaLIVE he was stopped by security after buying groceries worth over R8,000 and was asked if they could check his purchase.
Maraza claimed that he was given no explanation over being questioned and felt like a “criminal”.
“I believe that they were tracking me. There were a number of times when security came to me to tell me they were closing and asked why I was doing so much shopping just before closing time. I was treated like a criminal. This was not right,” he said.
Maraza added that he was told that he could not leave while other customers walked out with trolleys full of groceries.
“People were staring at me like I had done something wrong. They did not say I was a criminal but they said I cannot leave until my purchase has been verified. This while a number of white people were allowed to leave with trolleys full of goods,” he explained.
The rapper believes that he was discriminated against because of his way of dressing and colour of his skin.
“I was discriminated against because my pants were saggy and I was black and spending so much money. I am not fighting a race issue. I am fighting a social profiling issue,” he said.
Speaking on social media he called the incident one of the “most common forms of systematic racism” and said that he was later released with no further explaination.
In a statement issued to TshisaLIVE Pick n Pay apologised for the incident and denied that Maraza was profiled. Instead the supermarket chain blamed the incident on problematic card transactions at the store.
“We apologise for any inconvenience experienced by Maraza and have tried to contact him directly. Our customers are not profiled in any way. Our Pick n Pay Killarney branch has experienced a number of problematic card transactions, particularly at closing time. The store put random checks in place, and this was one of them. The security officer on duty did not ask to check Maraza’s groceries and only the card transaction itself was verified. We value and appreciate MarazA as our customer at Killarney and are sorry if the reasons for the random search were not communicated better,” said Pick n Pay spokesperson Tamra Veley.
However, Maraza told TshisaLIVE that he was still waiting for a personal apology from Pick n Pay and was not sure he would accept it unless it was sincere.
“My feeling towards Pick n Pay still hasn’t changed. They have not contacted me. I don’t want them to apologise through the media. I want them to reach out to me and speak to me personally about the incident,” he added.