By: Vuyolwethu Nzolongwane
South Africa finds itself in the clutches of a new pandemic other than the novel coronavirus, the country is facing massive destruction by its citizens in the form of looting and destruction of properties, namely in Kwazulu-Natal and Johannesburg.
A communique that did the rounds on social media, calling on Eastern Cape residents to join hands in the looting, sent a wave of panic and motivated residents to unite and protect their beloved provinces and cities.
Buffalo City Metro Executive Mayor, Xola Pakati appealed to the citizens of Buffalo City Metro to not take part in any “acts of violence, destruction of property and looting” as they have no place in East London.
“The actions that we have been seeing are extremely shocking, criminal, and barbaric. They are not only counter-productive, but they are also actively working to undo the gains of our democracy and they are a frontal attack on the condition of the poor and the working class,” he said.
Supermarkets, malls and eateries throughout East London took precautionary measures and closed their doors to assess the situation. Taxi drivers took to the streets to monitor and protect their city and residents, from any potential destruction.
“We as taxi drivers decided to protect our city, we are known to be ruthless so we thought we could use that to show that we can be ruthless in protecting our city and those who help us to put food on the table because without our customers we are unable to pay off our taxis and we are not able to provide for our families,” said East London taxi driver Mlungisi Ngqoyiya.
The looting in the bigger cities not only sent a wave of unease but also disrupted the plans of young entrepreneurs who rely on Johannesburg based runners to stock clothing items to service their clients. One such young entrepreneur is Siphamandla Tusani, who stocks from Johannesburg and relies on having her clothing items delivered by courier from Johannesburg to East London.
She highlighted how the looting and destruction have had a challenging effect on her business as she now has to halt all business dealings due to delayed deliveries and feels that the looting “defeats the purpose of job creation or side hustle.”
“From my perspective, it would be complete stupidity to partake in such a rally or movement as there would be a decline in the economy. I feel like as the most unprivileged city we would hardly recover from rebuilding the economy which will lead to job losses, infrastructure, access to healthcare, illiterate youth, poverty and increased crime rate, the least we can do as is to ensure that we maintain our economy as we are still a work in progress,” she said.
The mayor commended the residents of the metro for not taking part in the destruction of property and looting of businesses.
“We must commend the residents of our metro for not participating in the acts of looting despite the sinister mobilisation that was happening on social media. It is very encouraging that our residents are choosing to protect our economy, our jobs, and our livelihoods,” he said.