Lethiwe Makhanya
3 minute read
20 May 2022

UPDATE | Hundreds rush in to buy looted goods at a bargain in Pietermaritzburg

Lethiwe Makhanya

Looted items recovered from the July unrest last year went under the hammer on Thursday, with hundreds of people turning up hoping to get bargains.

Looted items recovered from the July unrest last year went under the hammer on Thursday, with hundreds of people turning up hoping to get bargains.

The auction took place at Strauss Hall inside the Alexandra Police Station in Pietermaritzburg.

Some of the items sold included home appliances such as fridges, televisions, washing machines and laptops. The items were grouped together as “combos” and people had to bid for a combo instead of buying individual items.

While some of the items looked brand new, others had scratches and looked old.

Some of the items looted during the July unrest that were auctioned at Alexandra Police Station on Thursday.

Bidder registration took place from 8 am until 10 am. However, many people were left disappointed because they were unable to register within the time frame.

The bidding fee was R100 per person and those who did not buy anything were refunded the amount.

The highest bidder paid about R15 000 for a combo of home appliances which included a washing machine, stove and other items.

One of the highest bidders, who asked not to be named, told The Witness that he was excited that he managed to get some of the things that he wanted even though he did not get everything he had set his heart on.

“I saw a post that there would be an auction on Facebook and I started enquiring about it to make sure that it was legit. I got about two of the items out of 10 that I needed.

“The items that I do not need in the lot that I bought, I will be selling to people who need them but who were unable to get them at the auction,” he said.

Ayanda Ndlovu from Edendale, who also attended the auction, said she was very disappointed because it was not what she had expected.

Ndlovu said: 

“I needed a washing machine but when I got here I saw that they grouped everything together and were not selling them individually.”

“I do not know [why they did this], but I think it was unfair. It is like they wanted to get rid of everything quickly and used this strategy,” she said.

She added that she returned home with nothing, because she did not want to spend money on things that she did not want.

After the auction some of the people were seen negotiating with those who bought the combos, trying to persuade them to sell individual items that they wanted.

Looted items that were auctioned on Thursday. PHOTO: NASH NARRANDES

On Thursday, The Witness published a story online about the auction and it attracted a flood of comments.

While some people shared their thoughts about the auction, some posted pictures of the items that were up for auction and complained that they were “scrap” and were not supposed to be sold.

Lungelo Ficks Madlala said:

“So there was no ‘working goods’ only scrap … strange I tell you, pretty sure I saw police confiscating things that at least looked functional and not scrap metal, wonder where that went.”

Venolin Govender said, “Selling devalued goods above market prices according to the Consumer Act is a rip-off.”

Thulani Msimang said, “Those things are not the ones that they were looting, those old scrap things we saw. Probably it was stolen items but never recovered by owners.”

Dumi Hadebe added that it was a joke that 22 plastic chairs were selling for R7 800.

Bandile Mzolo added, “What a waste of our time.”