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Post - 2021-07-21

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Nine Qur’ans left untouched amid ruins

NEWS

CHARLENE SOMDUTH charlene.somduth@inl.co.za

THE People's Market supplies fruit, vegetables and other general items to the community of Umzinto but last Monday it was one of the businesses looted and damaged. Atish Ramautar, owner of the People’s Market, said the damage and the loss of stock amounted to around R400 000. “They took everything; all our goods, cash, cash registers and even our chairs. I am busy with a clean-up and I am hoping we can rebuild. I am renting the premises. My business employs 15 people from the community but now I can only afford to keep five staff. It was a difficult decision but under the circumstances, I had no other choice.” Ramautar said the business was started by his father, Ashwin Ramautar, more than 25 years ago. “My dad passed on 14 years ago. It was devastating to see what he started destroyed in a matter of hours.” Moosa's Cash and Carry is the only wholesaler in the area. The store, which was opened 13 years ago, supplies goods to spaza and tuck shops. An employee said the store was 2 500m2 in size. “It is completely destroyed. Everything was looted and what could not be taken was damaged and burnt. We employ 70 permanent staff and about 15 to 20 casual workers. At this stage, we are uncertain what will become of the business.” The employee said the burning and the looting of the store had a ripple effect on the community. “We are the only wholesaler in the area. Small business owners, like tuck shops and spaza shops, buy their stock from us. Now those communities are going to suffer. “In everything that has happened, nine Qur'ans that were kept in the store were not burnt or damaged. We believe everything happens for a reason and we trust He will keep us strong.” Raeesa Patel, the owner of TG's Chicken, said: "Although my store was not looted, I am still at risk of closing down because all my main suppliers like the People's Market were looted or burnt. Without stock, I will not be able to operate.” Patel said she had enough stock for a few days. "Many of my suppliers are uncertain about the future of their businesses. For me, this could mean closing down and letting my staff go.” A supermarket cashier said she was waiting to hear from her employer if she still had a job. "The store is in ruins. I don't know if he will recover from this. I am a single mother of two minor children. I collect a grant for them which is used to pay a relative to take care of them while I am at work. The money I earn is for groceries and other essentials. If I cannot work, we will go hungry. The grant is not going to help for the entire month.”

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