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#ThisIsUs South Coast Road businesses hit hard after riots

"We’ve lost a lot of our heritage here in Clairwood due to the looting and burning of the properties. This is a sad reality. I just hope that business can recover from this."

SOME businesses have had to close their doors after failing to recover from the week of unrest that shook the province in July.

One such business is a cafe in Clairwood which was one of the many businesses that was ransacked on South Coast Road. The store remains closed until funding is received from government through the business recovery programme by the Department of Small Business Development.

Juan van Dyk who was an employee at the café as well as the coordinator of Montclair CPF sector 2 sub-forum, felt the effects of the unrest two-fold as he was also on the ground working to protect the area.

 

“We’ve been a business for about 85 years. The café is a landmark in Clairwood and the owner has been here since its inception. For him to lose everything is shattering. We have to start from scratch and that will take time. Many other businesses along South Coast Road were looted, ransacked and set alight. Well known stores and businesses have completely been destroyed right to the ground. Sadly most of them are unlikely to recover due to not having insurance or the means to start all over again. Their livelihoods which they have worked so hard for have been taken from them overnight. The unemployment was already high, but now it will triple the amount. This has not only crippled us but will have a ripple effect on increased crimes rates.”

“As the CPF we cordoned off the area by putting up three roadblocks on the main roads which were manned over 24 hours. We did stop-and-search of vehicles and ensured that no vehicles were on the road past the 21:00 curfew. The CPF, local businesses and residents came together for a common cause to protect and salvage what remained of Clairwood. Metro and SAPS were also present and assisted when vehicles were found with looted items. Police detained suspects and proceeded with investigations accordingly.

“We also found that some of the people who looted Clairwood were local staff and customers who knew the ins and outs of the businesses,” said a concerned Van Dyk.

Ward 32 PR councillor, Sharmaine Sewshanker, said the entire ordeal of having to remotely deal with fearful residents and the physical destruction of businesses wrenched her heart.

“Police were overwhelmed and under restored because these attacks were happing throughout the city at once. I’ve never felt so helpless in my life. Not being able to access the area, stand up for the community and physically do something was devastating for me. Although I couldn’t come into the area, I am thankful to the community, business sector, CPF and law enforcement who put their lives before everyone else’s during such an adverse time. We’ve lost a lot of our heritage here in Clairwood due to the looting and burning of the properties. This is a sad reality. I just hope that business can recover from this.”

 

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