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Post - 2021-07-21

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‘I will never recover what I have lost’

NEWS

JANINE MOODLEY janine.moodley@inl.co.za

A ONCE-bustling business property in Reservoir Hills is now in ruins. The property in Mountbatten Drive, whose tenants included Premier Fresh, a beauty salon, an optometrist and a dentist, was torched last Monday. “Premier Fresh was the lifeblood of the community,” said Trevina Manickum, who worked there for five years. Everyone is devastated and heartbroken at what happened. We still can’t believe this cherished store has been destroyed.” Manickum said the store's 55 employees were left jobless. “Some of my colleagues and I are the sole breadwinners in our homes. A few of them are over the age of 50 and fear they will never find jobs. We are all anxious about our income, and we are thinking of ways to move forward.” She said she did not understand why the looters had burnt the property. “They did not think how this would affect the livelihoods of innocent people.” The owner could not be reached for comment. Vicky Chitradow, the owner of Salon Sharona, which is situated above Premier Fresh, said the damage at his businesses was estimated at R600000. “This is money we will never recover,” said Chitradow. “The salon was revamped, and new appliances were installed when we moved into the premises a year ago, just after the first lockdown. “We then stopped our insurance premiums to try and save money. Last Monday, I watched in horror as the business I invested my heart and soul into was burnt.” He said this was the second time his business had been looted. Chitradow’s salon was previously based at the Reservoir Hills Mall. He said he awaited feedback from the current building’s landlord on the way forward. “Before I make any decision, I need to know if there are any plans to rebuild.” Chitradow said the government needed to intervene and assist the affected small businesses. Lorraine Naidu, who works at the salon, said: “I honestly don’t know how we are going to survive this. My husband and I have two little ones to take care of, as well as my in-laws.” She said Chitradow helped as much as he could by distributing canned goods to the staff. “In spite of everything he has lost, he still tried to help us.” Teddy Parbhoo, the landlord, said he was unable to comment just yet on whether the property would be rebuilt. “I am still trying to get over the shock. It took several years to build that property, and now it has been reduced to ashes.” He said a structural engineer still needed to assess the damage before he knew if it was safe to rebuild. Parbhoo said he did not yet know the cost of the damages.

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