FOREIGN spaza shop owners are leaving the northern areas of Port Elizabeth despite numerous attempts by some of the residents to protect their shops.
This follows after a looting spree on Tuesday in the gang infested areas.
Women in their gowns and pyjamas in Chatty begged the immigrants not to leave.
But the frightened owners could not take chances after watching their fellow businessmen shops looted by angry crowds who stormed their shops late on Tuesday afternoon in Booysen Park, Timothy Valley and KwaNoxolo townships.
According to the spaza shop owners, crowds armed with crowbars, iron rods and hammers stormed their shops shouting
“We are hungry, and we want food.”
Ali Yunnis owner of 7 De Laan spaza shop in Booysen Park said, “I have lost worth more than R120 000 including my clothes. I am left with only these clothes that I am wearing.
“A mob arrived and banged on the doors and the counter telling me that they were hungry, and they want food. They did not even wait for me to answer they broke my doors and got inside. They robbed R10 000 in cash.
“Then I ran out just to save my life because these people were so violent,” he said.
Mohamed Ali the 2010 spaza shop assistant said: “We were only two inside the shop when a huge group of people arrived and told us were hungry and looking for food.
“They broke the doors and looted the shop. Everything that was inside was taken. A stock of about R50 000 was looted including money on the till.”
On Wednesday morning Teddy Alex of Lucky 7 spaza shop in Chatty removed all his stock and left the place following Tuesday’s incidents.
He said: “I am leaving because I am scared. Some of the community members are looting our shops. But good community members say we must stay because they will protect us.
“But we cannot take the chances its better we leave now while the police can escort us.”
Provincial police spokeswoman Colonel Sibongile Soci said: “Since 8 am Wednesday police were busy in the Northern areas where community members attempted to loot and also looted spaza shops in different areas in the Bethelsdorp and Gelvandale policing precincts.
“Public Order Policing (POP), Anti-Gang Unit (AGU), private security company, SAPS Bethelsdorp, SAPS Gelvandale and Metro Police were immediately on these scenes. POP fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd.”
She said the situation is still tense in these areas however, POP and other re-enforcements remain in the area to quell further attempts of looting.
— Daily Sun