Fear keeps Langa shop doors shut

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INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPERS

Kools Pub was among the stores looted and stoned during a violent protest in Langa. Photo: Bheki Radebe

Cape Town - A week after more than 50 shops were looted and goods stolen during a violent protest, most foreign shopowners in Langa still fear their businesses will be targeted despite the community assuring them their stores are safe.

Langa community leaders had previously apologised to foreign shopowners after some residents looted some of their shops during a service delivery protest last week.

Kools Pub was among the 53 shops which were looted during last week’s protest.

More than 10 cases of whisky were stolen. Three men were caught on camera using rubbish bins to cart the alcohol away.

Baoming Zhuang from China, who works at the pub, said they would not open until they were sure the unrest in the community was over.

“They took us by surprise. We quickly closed our door, but despite that, they managed to break in.

“They used a crowbar to gain access to the shop. All the windows were smashed and we haven’t replaced them. We have not opened the store since Wednesday because we fear they might come back,” he said.

“The three guys did not know that we had cameras. They took the most expensive stuff including the sound system that cost about R30 000.

“They also took R50 000 from the till.

“I don’t know how much money the alcohol they stole is worth. They stole cases of expensive whisky. More than 12 cases were stolen.”

He said he believed those responsible had used the protest “for their own benefit”.

Shuidindi Lin, owner of Kools Pub, said they were still calculating how much the repairs would cost.

He said the safety of his workers were his priority.

“I would not want to take a risk and open (the shop). What we saw last week was really frightening. I don’t know when I will open again because we need to do a lot of repairs.”

Daniel Gebre from Ethiopia had a narrow escape when his car was set alight while he was trying to run away. His shop was empty after it was looted.

“I tried to open earlier this week, but I could see that there was no peace yet.

“I closed my shop because I still feel going back there would be very risky.

“I lost everything and I don’t know how I am going to recover that. I will go back today and see what the situation is,” he said.

siyavuya.mzantsi@inl.co.za

Cape Times


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