‘It would take a miracle to rebuild’
NOKUTHULA MABUZA firstname.lastname@example.org
THEMBIE Mhlongo, a hairdresser and the owner of Thembie’s Hair and Beauty Salon in eNseleni near Richards Bay, said it would take a miracle to revive her business. The 33-year-old single mother of two opened the salon near the Nseleni shopping centre in 2018. Mhlongo said she was shocked after her customers told her that her business had been broken into last week. “I heard about the shutdown and I told my staff not to report for duty for their safety. Then I was told people were breaking into shops to steal food. I thought they were targeting big businesses only. I was heartbroken when I got a call that people broke into my salon. I couldn’t believe it.” Mhlongo said she went to the business a day after to assess the damage. “All my equipment and haircare products were stolen. They also damaged the premises. I have no one to ask for help. I was the only provider. What worries me is that my eldest daughter requires treatment for a condition. I don’t know how I will pay for her monthly doctor’s appointments and school fees.” Victor Senni, 39, a father of four who works at a furniture shop in the area, said his employer had told him he was closing the business. “I have a newborn so I can’t afford to be unemployed, at least not right now,” said Senni, who worked at the shop for eight years. “The looting started last Sunday. My boss then called me the following day. He said he did not have money to fix anything or buy more furniture. I could hear the sadness in his voice. He was broken and so am I. “This job has helped me send my three sons to school and build a house. My wife and I had another baby about a month ago. My wife was retrenched late last year due to the pandemic. This was the only income we had to survive.” He said most factories were looted and it would be difficult for him to get a job soon. “No employer is going to look for workers. All businesses, from retailers to major companies, were affected. It seems like more people might lose their jobs. This means that those who are unemployed might remain unemployed for a long time.” Senni said job hunting was also an expense. “You need money to get your CV done and printed, and you need money for transport if you have an interview to get to.” His employer declined to comment.