South Africa: Brakpan Community Members Protect Immigrant-Owned Spaza Stores

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What will our children eat if this looting does not stop? resdient request

Residents in parts of Brakpan formed groups to protect immigrant-owned stores.

Most stores were looted and their owners and owners threatened earlier this week.

The situation is still uncertain and community members continue to protect those at risk.

Meanwhile, residents are struggling to get hold of basic items such as bread.

Groups of residents in parts of Brakpan have pledged to protect immigrant-owned stores. In a spaza shop in Langaville extension 4 owned by Sharif Ahmed, originally from Bangladesh, there were long lines throughout the day on Wednesday. It is the only store in the area that has not been bald, thanks to a brave widow and a group of local residents.

People bought bread, sugar, flour, cooking oil and airtime. The area’s take-out business owners, which make amagwinya and township sandwiches, were in desperate need of flour and bread. At 5:30 p.m., when Ahmed sold the last loaf of bread, there were still people in the queue.

Sibusiso Dhlamini and his team were protecting the store, looking for any attempted looting. They also have a shift system to keep Ahmed’s landlady inside her house. She is a widow and she has not dared to leave her house for days. She also didn’t want to be named in our article.

“I don’t open my door because I’m afraid of people who threatened to kill me for protecting a ‘stranger’ – that’s what they called my tenant. I have my soldiers here though. someone dares to be violent, ”she shouted. to us from inside his house.

As in much of Bakpan, the looting in Langaville began on Monday. The widow took a stand, swearing that no one would walk through her door. The looters only arrived at the corner of the street. But on Tuesday morning, they started throwing stones at her roof and said they would set her house on fire. Ahmed called Dhlamini, who immediately mobilized a group of nine men.

By then, Ahmed’s other spaza store had already been looted.

“I’m glad my South African brothers came to my rescue,” he said, smiling from inside his shop as he attended to his customers.

“The looters are going to go through me and my team first before attacking the store owners. This is what happens when people target the stores, we suffer,” Dhlamini said. “I doubt that such people [looters] even give themselves time to think about how this will affect the community. “

Dhlamini said people now have to pay a R34 round-trip ticket and queue for hours to buy bread and a few basic items in Springs, 12 km away.

His team also patrols the area at night, checking out various immigrant store owners, even if their stores have been cleared by looters.

“We just check to see if they’re okay, because that’s what normal people do,” Dhlamini said.

In Expansion 6, potential looters have taken their eyes off Minitotz Monta and his shop. Here too, the inhabitants mobilized to protect it. Stanford Ntshane said: “During the day we sit outside watching. At night my son and his friends light a fire and stay up until late and alert us if they see anything suspicious. We sleep with our ears. open and we’ll teach these raiders a lesson. “

Girma Sefa, from Ethiopia, who operates a store in Extension 1, struggles to walk after looters attacked him in the street on Tuesday. Members of the community came to her rescue, chased away the attackers and called the police.

“We asked the community to blow the whistle if they see any problems … They [looters] did not manage to enter the store, but they broke pipes, ”said resident Sphiwe Sebego.

The group managed to stop an attempted looting of the store on Tuesday night.

“I am happy that the community is helping me. I managed to use Sphiwe’s vehicle to secure my stock in Dunnottar,” Sefa said.

“As we speak, many people are struggling to obtain bread. What will our children eat if this looting does not stop?” Sebego asked.


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