Lakshmi brass was among items stolen
CHARLENE SOMDUTH email@example.com
SUHAIL Sookhoo, the owner of Cals Discount Liquors and Theezo's Sportsbar and Restaurant in eMkomazi, said the future of his businesses looked bleak. Sookhoo’s mother, Cindy, bought the liquor store in 2017. Sookhoo opened Theezo’s Sportsbar in December last year. Both businesses are next to each other. “The lockdown and the continuous restriction on alcohol sales has already caused financial strain and now, with the looting, it’s going to be next to impossible to get our businesses back on track. The damages are devastating,” said Sookhoo. He said their stock, fridges, freezers, cash registers and cameras were stolen, and the pool tables were damaged. The building housing Theezo's Sportsbar was partly burned. “They stole our Mother Lakshmi brass lamp, groceries, cutlery, electric appliances and gas cooker. The damage and loss of stock are about R850 000,” said Sookhoo. He said they employed six workers and casual staff at both businesses. “During this period of grief and devastation, the staff had to be laid off indefinitely because we cannot rebuild at this stage,” said Sookhoo. He said his family now had no income. "This can lead to us losing our home and vehicles. We are hard-working, honest, dedicated and law-abiding citizens, but where has it got us? Some of our staff are single moms and students,” said Sookhoo. Naren Jugnarain, the co-owner of Kwa-Lighty Brick and Block and Hardware, said the cost of damage to his store was about R6 million. The business was started in 1960 by his father, Ramnath Jugnarain. In 2005, Naren Jugnarain took over the business with his brother, Rashen. They have 42 staff. Naren Jugnarain said the store was looted. “Our 14 trucks and two vans were vandalised. The windscreens were shattered, the tyres and the diesel tanks were punctured. If the insurance does not cover me, we will be in dire straits,” said Jugnarain. He said there were no spares to repair the vehicles. “I have enough to survive for the month. If the insurance covers the damage, I will only be able to reopen after about two months. I don’t know what will happen to my staff,” said Jugnarain. A take-away employee said he was living on handouts from the community. “I get a wage every two weeks. I was supposed to get paid on Friday but, with the unrest and the shop being looted, my employer could not pay me. He gave me a few groceries and told me that was all he could do. I just broke down in tears. I don’t know if I will have a job,” said the employee. He said the looters did not think about how their actions would affect people. “I work hard to support my family. “It is difficult to get a job. No one will hire me because everyone is in the same boat,” the employee said.