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Londiwe Xulu
journalist
2 minute read
11 Jun 2022
06:37

‘National shutdown’ a damp squib

Londiwe Xulu

The situation was calm in Pietermaritzburg following fears of possible looting on Friday.

The situation was calm in Pietermaritzburg following fears of possible looting on Friday.

This came after calls for a national shutdown.

Residents across Pietermaritzburg had vowed to protect their shopping centres especially those that were looted and destroyed during the July unrest. An Mpophomeni resident, outside Howick said they were on the lookout for anyone who attempted to loot the Mpophomeni Shopping Centre, which was looted and burnt down last July.

Weekend Witness drove around Pietermaritzburg monitoring the situation. The day was as normal as other Fridays in Pietermaritzburg. The South African National Taxi Council (Santaco) which was one of the organisations that had distanced themselves from the shutdown had its taxis operating normally from Friday morning.

Weekend Witness approached two security guards who said they had been guarding the Scottsville Mall from 5.30 am in the morning on Friday.

They said the day was normal and there were no disruptions despite the threats.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson, sergeant Sifiso Gwala, said no incidents related to the shutdown were reported on Friday and said it has been fairly quiet with security forces on the ground patrolling.

Meanwhile in Hammarsdale, KwaZulu-Natal, taxi drivers and owners fired shots in the air to disperse a crowd that wanted to loot a mall on Thursday night.

“We spoke to them and told them this thing of looting businesses is not right, because they hurt the economy. The mall employs over 2 000 people in the area so we need to protect it.”
Nkosinathi Majola, Ward 6 councillor

Smangele Shoba, a resident in Hammarsdale Unit 2, said that at around 9 pm about 100 people gathered near the Junction Mall.

“They were burning tyres near the mall; however, they could not get close as there were police, private security and taxi owners and drivers who were guarding it,” she said.

Nkosinathi Majola, Ward 6 councillor, condemned the attempts to loot the mall. “We spoke to them and told them this thing of looting businesses is not right, because they hurt the economy. The mall employs over 2 000 people in the area so we need to protect it,” Majola said.

He said the people attempting to loot were from the Mpumalanga township.

At 7 am, Majola said things were operating smoothly in Hammarsdale with stores getting ready to open and taxis operating.

Durban was also quiet with no reports of looting.

NatJoints thanked all law enforcement officers, communities, local businesses, the transport industry and private security for the co-operation and patriotism displayed in preventing and combating any forms of criminality.