Debi Market business slumps after hoax call

2013-02-13 00:00

A HOAX message circulating on social networks has led to a decline in business for shop owners at the Debi Market in Northdale.

The message circulated last Friday via BBM, Facebook and Whatsapp and warned people not to go to the market because of a shooting that took place in two shops.

The usually busy area has since become “very quiet”.

Khalid Badrudin, chairperson of the market, said the slump was depressing.

“Nothing happened, there were no gunshots and no robbery. I don’t know where they got this message from.”

Khalid said the hoax caused a 50% decline in business on Friday, as the “normal Friday crowd” was nowhere to be seen.

“Fridays and Saturdays are our peak days,” he added.

A shop owner who did not want to be named told The Witness yesterday the effect on business had been “terrible”.

“It’s dead quiet. Customers have been calling since 8 am [on Friday]. I told them there was no shooting,” she said, adding that the customers were also afraid.

She said she usually makes about R1 000 on Fridays, but made only R150 last Friday.

“On Saturdays I make R1 500 to R1 800, but I only made R400 last Saturday,” she added.

The woman, who lives in Northdale, has been in business for 20 years. She said this was her family’s only source of income.

“I’m very depressed,” she said. “My husband is not working and my daughter is also not working. We depend on this business.”

Vino Moodley, whose mother owns a stall at the market, said there were no customers at the weekend and described business there as “stone dead”.

Police spokesperson Lieutenant Joey Jeevan confirmed that there had been no shooting at the market on Friday.

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