Looters attacked Mustek’s offices in the North of Durban on Monday, stealing everything of value and leaving the facility wrecked.
On Tuesday evening a video posted online showed that the building had been set ablaze.
Mustek managing director Hein Engelbrecht confirmed that the building in the video was indeed their Durban office, which the company rented.
With this attack and the subsequent arson, criminals have destroyed a key information technology and computer hardware provider in the eThekwini area.
Mustek’s Durban offices handled orders from technology retailers in the area, dispatched goods to clients, and offered after-sales support services. Stock of some items was held on the premises.
Speaking to MyBroadband earlier today, Engelbrecht said that they had thankfully told the few operational staff still working from the offices to stay home on Monday.
“We just had a feeling … we saw the reports of unrest and some of our staff said that they were struggling to get out of their neighbourhoods. So we told everyone to stay home on Monday,” said Engelbrecht.
With South Africa’s adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown in place, all the sales staff that usually work from Mustek’s Durban facility were already working from home.
Only some operational staff who work on dispatch and after-sales support were still working from the office.
Engelbrecht said that when the looters first attacked, their security personnel tried to hold them out but were overrun.
One security guard was hospitalised.
The police soon arrived on the scene and dispersed the mob. While the situation was calm the police were called away to quell unrest in a different location.
Engelbrecht said the police had not been gone for ten minutes before the looters returned in full force and stripped the office bare.
Looters also tore through the property, ripping screens off of walls and damaging company delivery vehicles.
Some vandals then returned on Tuesday and set the building alight.
Engelbrecht could not provide an estimate of the cost of the damage.
“We are busy assessing the damage — I don’t want to guess right now,” he said.
The loss of their Durban offices will cause some service disruption for clients in KwaZulu-Natal, but Engelbrecht said it does not impact their national operations.
He said that as soon as the highway between Johannesburg and Durban re-opens, Mustek can restructure to serve KwaZulu-Natal clients from Gauteng — though he added that this will cost a bit more.
By Nokukhanya N Mntambo for Jacaranda FM
Some major retail outlets across the country have rushed to close their doors out of fear of being hit by looters.
Several Makro stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have been gutted by fire after their shelves were emptied.
The brazen attacks come amid rising tensions in both provinces with some communities coming out in their numbers to rob businesses in broad daylight.
Makro says it has closed its doors until further notice.
Health and beauty retailers Clicks says it will also close some of its stores indefinitely.
“Due to unrest in KZN and Gauteng, some stores will be closed until further notice for the safety of our staff and customers.”
See affected Clicks stores here.
Image credit: ANA
Source: A News
Image credit: AP
South African police on Monday arrested dozens of people following looting in Johannesburg and protests in the transport industry linked to a wave of anti-foreigner sentiment. At least 41 people were arrested after hundreds of people marched through Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD), plundering shops and torching cars and buildings, the police said in a statement.
Looting and violence spread across several neighborhoods in South Africa’s major cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg on Monday, after a spate of overnight attacks that appeared to target foreign-owned shops.
At least 50 shops were looted and burned early Monday in the southern Johannesburg suburbs of Malvern and Jeppestown. Police fired rubber bullets at looters as burnt cars were stranded in the roads as violence grew.
Officials dismissed reports that the ongoing attacks were xenophobic and that foreign-owned shops were targeted in the violence, insisting they were opportunistic crimes.
“Xenophobia is just an excuse that is being used by people to commit criminal acts,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told the media on Monday afternoon. “It is not xenophobia, but pure criminality.”
Cele said the government’s first priority was to deploy more police officers to the affected areas.
Police arrested 41 people for the violence in Johannesburg, while 8 others were arrested in Tembisa township, east of Johannesburg, and one person arrested in the capitol Pretoria, police said.
On Monday, a pamphlet circulating on social media, seen by The Associated Press, encouraged South Africans to chase foreigners out of their communities.
The pamphlet, attributed to a group called the Sisonke People’s Forum, accused foreigners living in South Africa of selling drugs and stealing jobs, both common refrains during the regular flare-ups of violence against foreigners in the greater Johannesburg area in recent years.
Monday’s violence follows similar incidents in Pretoria last week, in which protest led by taxi drivers saw several foreign-owned shops looted and torched.