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The riots are so, so close to us, literally less than 2km from my home a major shopping centre, supermarket and KFC was looted. The police were no where in sight. The Community Policing forum (my husband included) had to set up at the entrance of the residential area, to prevent rioters from taking over our homes. They could not stop the rioters from taking over the centres. A day after rioting and totally destroying the mall, they returned the next evening to burn the building.
Every suburb has set up community camps, with men and a few women, manning the entry points 24hrs a day. The defence force was deployed too late.
Every area in greater Durban has been affected, very badly. It has been happening simultaneously, in many places, making it difficult for an already strained police force to help. They have attacked, looted, burnt, trashed, stolen, destroyed so many shopping centres, businesses, the blood bank, pharmacies and more. Everyone at the office has been affected. The petrol stations were burnt! There is nothing. We are under siege.
It has not stopped. Last night Clover dairy was burnt, SA Sugar and the Isipingo market. They loot, damage and burn. Why? Such demons.
We were all panicking, with no food, fuel and fear that our electricity and water will be stopped by rioters. The looters burnt trucks, cars and delivery vehicles from JHB to Dbn, so supply stopped. The shopping queues are endless. With few shops left and little stock, people queue from 5am to 2pm, only to find non-essential items.
The support from the community has been amazing. The muslim association in JHB has sent trucks containing 32 000 loaves of bread, milk, baby formula and diapers, to Durban, with armed guards – they have been doing so since day 1 and will continue until the supply is restored. Anyone is permitted to drive through at the mosque, collect a loaf of bread and milk. In the suburb where my parents live, the milk and bread is delivered to each residents door. I could not manage going to stand in the queues. Between my sister and I, we shared what we have and will manage. Today the local small shop received some goods. All this is happening in the midst of a deadly pandemic.
There is no structure to what I am writing to you. There is so much to tell. They have targeted the major income hubs eg. Massmart (owned by Walmart), this will force Walmart not to invest in SA – Walmart and LG were badly hit. Looters arrived in their bakkies and took flat screen TVs, fridges and every single thing in there. They even drove the store’s Hysters to carry heavy items to their cars. Then, they burn the place. Imagine the job losses, the insurance claims. I don’t know how to feel. We are still in our homes, imagine how we are going to feel when we drive to work and see all the places burnt. Our memories.
People had their storage facilities burnt, losing their kids photographs etc. We are thankful to be alive and not displaced from our homes.
We all packed a small bag with our ID documents, medication and set of clothes, ready to flee our homes if they invaded us.
The men are continuing with guarding our suburbs, we have to. We fear that they will target our communication and then we are doomed further.
There is so much more to tell. I am sure you are seeing lots on Facebook etc. There is so much more. The looters have the audacity to now start selling the items on Facebook. Some are posting videos of new, fully stocked fridges. They are so shallow minded, not thinking about their own jobs, future and where they will now shop – let alone our economy dwindling and cost of living escalating.
Sorry for all this depressing info. We all have worked from home this week. It was draining, I was unfocussed in tears most of the time.
I don’t know how we can heal. But I pray and believe that the Almighty will grant us all something better than what we have lost.