THE brick wall is becoming the new window pane in KZN shops whose owners want them to be loot-proof should further waves of last month’s chaos erupt.
While large centres such as Makro and Value Centre in Springfield remain closed, smaller businesses such as Solomon Cycles have bricked in walls where there were once glass panes.
The same has happened on the other side of Durban, at Queensmead Mall in Umbilo, where freshly laid brickwork lines one side of Greg Fotheringham’s Tops at Spar bottle store. It’s gone up in the past three weeks ahead of September 6 when he aims to be back in business.
“After the looters bashed in the glass it was easy for them to enter. Hundreds of them,” he told the Independent on Saturday.
He said the looting of his store featured in a video shown in the background when President Cyril Ramaphosa was delivering his first speech on television after the looting.
Fotheringham also owns the mall’s Spar supermarket, which unlike the bottle store has its entrance inside the mall.
“They accessed it via KFC (which, like Tops, faces the outside).”
It remains closed while across the arcade ATMs are still damaged and unusable. Absa provided a mobile service in the car park.
Fotheringham added that he knew of no arrests that had been made relating to his shop where every asset was taken, from stock to shelves and tills.
“But there is plenty of video footage going around.”
Neither the Springfield cycle shop nor the Umbilo bottle store were transparent to show merchandise in the shop. Solomon’s Cycles had a wooden board in front of it and the bottle store’s glass had been covered by massive stickers.
Not all shops are going the brick route.
Rashid Khan, regional manager of The Bed Store in Springfield, said the shopping centre in which his shop is situated did not permit bricking in. Rather, it had organised additional security measures including a canine unit on duty at night.
“We are also using this opportunity to change the layout of the store, to give it a facelift.”
In the smashed Southern Drakensberg village of Bulwer, landlord Lee Comrie said that had the looting taking place before he had laid the foundations of a new shopping centre, he would have had more opportunities to apply new designs.
However, he would make sure that all glass was behind roller doors.
“And it won’t be like in the old days when they all faced the parking lots.”
The pharmaceutical company Cipla’s manufacturing facility in Mobeni reopened this week after suffering looting damage.
“The building was vandalised ‒ windows and doors broken ‒ and some of the equipment was damaged, in addition to some of the active pharmaceutical ingredients being damaged,” a company statement said.
“As a business, it’s natural to relook at things after such an incident. We are naturally re-evaluating our security measures to ensure the safety and well-being of our staff (this is our utmost priority), and the facility to ensure continuity of medicine supply at all times.”
Pick n Pay said it was making good progress in repairing the damage caused to some of its stores.
The Independent on Saturday