It wasn’t business as usual for many shop owners in parts of the Johannesburg Central Business District (CBD) on Monday, as they awoke to a lifetime of investments burnt to ashes.
This comes after tensions flared up yet again in Malvern and parts of the inner city on Sunday, and continued into the early hours of Monday morning.
A group of men – some wielding sticks, pangas and tree branches – marched through the city centre after disrupting a meeting in which IFP founder and former leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi spoke to hostel residents following a week of deadly xenophobic violence, News24 reported.
Police have since reported two fatalities, five injuries and sixteen arrests for public violence and possession of stolen property, as a result of the recent unrest. The latest deaths are in addition to the 10 people killed last week when violence erupted in Johannesburg, parts of the East Rand and Pretoria.
South African businessman Phillip Daserra’s car-parts business in Malvern was caught in the crossfire on Sunday night.
“At about 20:30 last night, I received a call that there was trouble at my business. I found that they came last night, stole most of the parts and burnt it,” he told News24 outside his business which was still on fire.
Daserra estimated that he had lost about R5m worth of goods in the incident.
In addition, he claimed his calls to save his business fell on deaf ears when he contacted the fire brigade for further assistance.
“There’s a fire brigade just five minutes up the road. When we phoned, they said they would not be able to come.”
“It took my whole life to build this business and now I have lost everything. It’s sad – you’re a South African and the government fails to protect you,” Daserra added while fighting back the tears.
Businesses remain closed, with little to no activity in Malvern and parts of the CBD, while police continue to monitor the affected areas.