We are calling it quits - owner of Coligny shop open for 70 years

2017-04-26 13:27
A shop owner and her staff clean up the damage caused. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

A shop owner and her staff clean up the damage caused. (Nation Nyoka, News24)

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'Heartbroken' Coligny shop owner closes business after looting

2017-04-26 12:06

The alleged murder of a 12-year old boy in Coligny sparked violent protests, looting and destruction of property in the North-West town on Tuesday. News24 spoke to some of the shop owners that were affected. Watch. WATCH

Coligny - After more than 70 years of conducting business in Coligny in the North West, a business owner says he is closing his shop after it suffered nearly half a million rand worth of damage during violent protests this week.

"We are heartbroken because it is not only our shop, it is the whole town that's been destroyed," Buddy Shalala, who owns a furniture shop, told News24 on Wednesday.

He said his family has been operating the business in the area since 1928.

"At the moment it's very difficult to ascertain the damage but it must be close to half a million."

Shalala said they intend repairing the damages, but would not be continuing with the business.

"We are calling it quits. We will repair damage and rent out [the] building, but we are stopping the business. We are not carrying on with this business anymore."

Arrests

Police confirmed that two people have been arrested in connection with the death of a 12-year-old boy in Coligny, which was apparently the reason for violent protests in the area.

Initial reports said the boy died after falling from the back of a bakkie.

Residents claimed a farmer assaulted the boy after finding him in his maize field on Friday, City Press reported on Tuesday.

Police said they were looking for the boy's family.

Premier Supra Mahumapelo appealed for calm in the Ditsobotla local municipality and assured residents that law and order would be maintained.

His statement was issued after shops were looted, and three houses, trucks and a tractor, and an armoured police vehicle were set alight in Coligny and Lichtenburg since protests started.

In Lichtenburg on Friday, a truck carrying 38 000 chicks was set alight.

The Lichtenburg protests were reportedly linked to service delivery problems in the town.

Mahumapelo said he had set up a task team to attend to the situation in the municipality. It was being led by education MEC Sello Lehari, the leader of government business in the province.

Police said Coligny, Lichtenburg and Itsoseng were relatively calm on Wednesday morning.

"It is still quiet. We are still maintaining presence at the affected places," Colonel Sabata Mokgwabone said.

WATCH:

The small town's main street was littered with rocks and glass on Wednesday.

Police were seen driving up and down the streets while numerous shop owners tried to rebuild after their businesses were damaged and looted.

Pavements were covered with shards of glass and plastics from looted goods.

Coligny resident Abdul Ahmed told News24 that protesters first destroyed a liquor store before heading to other shops.

"The tension got worse when the people who were in town went back to the [township]."

He alleged that the protesters went back to the township and called for more people to come loot shops.

"I think there [were]... other people taking chances from that march because the march started peacefully, and we were told everything would run smoothly," said Ahmed.

Read more on:    mahikeng  |  protests

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