‘What was not taken has been broken’ – mass looting leaves small businesses in ruins
- Many small businesses have been left in ruins after being ransacked by looters on Monday and Tuesday.
- They includes Grootman, a fast food outlet owned by football star Lucky Lekgwathi, and two low-cost private clinics in Evaton Mall and Protea Glen Mall, owned by Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe.
- "What has not been taken has been broken", said Rakumakoe.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
While large chains and huge warehouses have been emptied in two days of looting, smaller local businesses have also been hit – with little prospect of bouncing back, as their bigger business peers may.
We spoke to two business owners whose establishments have been hard hit by looters, with extensive damage, and employees forced out of work.
Grootman by Lucky Lekgwathi
Grootman by Lucky Lekgwathi, a fast-food outlet founded by the football star in Kliptown, Soweto, saw looters take almost everything.
According to the former Orlando Pirates player, the three-month-old restaurant was ransacked on Monday. He estimates the damage at almost half a million rand.
“They took all the equipment in the restaurant. They took fridges, potato chip cutters and fryers,” he said. “None of the staff members were harmed because we were closed,” Lekgwathi said.
Eight people employed by the company are out of work for now. “We are working very hard to recover so that those people can come back," he said.
Lekgwathi's business had not been insured yet, and this means fixing the company rests on the owner’s shoulders and donations from the public.
“Thanks to people on social media who have been wanting to make donations to help us get back on our feet. Anyone who can make a contribution is welcome to so that we can recover,” said the dismayed Lekgwathi.
Donations can be made here;
Lucky Lekgwathi Club Foundation
Standard Bank, Southdale
Account Number: 007800142
Branch Code: 640530
Private clinic turned upside-down
Quadcare Medical Centres, a group of local private practice which provide affordable medical care in various communities, saw two of its eight practices looted and destroyed on Monday.
The clinics in Evaton Mall and Protea Glen Mall were broken into in the morning and, according to founder Dr Dulcy Rakumakoe, damages worth over R200,000 was done to each.
On average, the clinics see about 25 patients a day.
On Monday morning, Rakumakoe received a call from staff informing her of commotion at Evaton Mall. The workers were asked to evacuate the practice and go home to keep themselves and patients out of harm’s way.
“Everything was fine when they left, until later on during the day.We started hearing that there was looting happening at the mall,” said Rakumakoe.
They saw "the door being smashed" before remote CCTV cameras went off.
On inspection on Tuesday morning, the staff discovered the extensive damage that had happened at the practice.
“Everything basically has been taken. What has not been taken has been broken," said Rakumakoe. “They took ultrasound machines, company laptops, chairs, medication and everything that was inside.”
A huge number of looters were still in the clinic situated in Protea Glen Mall when Rakumakoe went to check on Tuesday morning. She says there was no police presence or law enforcement anywhere.
The company is insured – but assessments cannot take place while rioting continues
In the meantime, the team will wait for calm and then start rebuilding from what’s left of the clinics, said Rakumakoe, with the six affected employees placed in other practices.
“Even if it’s not donations but just words of encouragement, that would be welcome now because the emotional knock is quite severe given the type of work that we do.
“We deliberately go into communities where we know that access to healthcare is a major issue,” she said.
Some Twitter user took to social media to express grief over other small businesses which suffered during the looting. These include a Jimmy's Killer Express in Meadowpoint Shopping Centre, Soweto owned by Selebogo Molefe.
Molefe, who said he's "now in problem-solving mode "declined to speak to the media when approached for comment. He added that the team "won’t rest [until] communities are trading again."
Husband got this from colleague. Surgery looted..medicines & patients' files damaged. Often community GPs see patients who can't pay for free & dispense free medicines on the spot..saving them trips to pharmacies. The people paying the price for this are backbones of communities pic.twitter.com/PXP4bsf13n— Redi Tlhabi (@RediTlhabi) July 13, 2021
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