Durban - A mob of people flocked to a double storey home which was set alight and helped themselves to the victim's possessions during a service delivery protest in Jadhu Place in Morningside on Monday.
The double story brick house was abandoned by its former owners due to rampant crime, degeneration of the area and expansion of the informal settlement onto the properties of formal houses.
Several people have begun renting the five rooms on the bottom level. One of the tenants who had identified himself as Abdullah told the Daily News that he was with his wife and daughter when the heard loud screams outside.
"We heard there was a protest but we did not think it would affect us. The people were mostly on Alpine Road. My wife was preparing breakfast when something was thrown into the room and it set alight our possessions. The fire spread quickly. We panicked.We had to put the fire off because the fire department refused to come to the area," he said.
His wife Monica and other tenants told the Daily News that a mob of people converged on the building when they saw smoke.The tenants thought people came to help them.
"People just rushed in and took our stuff. We thought they were helping us but they stole most of our things. My clothes, furniture, a cellphone and my bag is missing. The criminals among them took advantage," she said.
The residents were protesting for houses and basic service delivery to be provided to Jadhu Place informal settlement Road were stoned.
Senior Superintendent Parboo Sewpersad, Durban Metro police spokesperson, confirmed that a house was set alight and no injuries were reported.
"The Emergency Medical Services came out to the scene and inspected the building. Nobody required medical assistance. We advised them to open a charge of theft at the local police station," he said.