Isithebe factory still shut after protests

2016-03-14 13:23

Durban – At least one factory manager and 1500 of his staff in Isithebe, KwaZulu-Natal, are still unable to return to work following nearly two weeks of civil unrest.

“We have had a week with no production and we haven’t been able to assess the damage. The area has been so volatile so we haven’t been able to get into the area. We will know more later in the week,” said Darren Katzer, general manager at clothing manufacturer Distinctive Choice.

The factory was petrol-bombed last week during protests over service delivery and the re-nomination of a former mayor to stand as a councillor in the upcoming local government elections.

Katzer said they were waiting for the damage to the factory to be assessed.

“I think people are back at work and things are almost normal. We have 1500 staff in limbo as well and we produce nearly 35 000 garments a day and it is a big loss and our customers also suffer,” he said.  

Scores of police officers had been deployed to the northern KwaZulu-Natal rural hamlet after several factories were looted and torched.

IPSS Security’s Dylan Meyrick, whose staff were involved in clashes with protesters last week, said the area was quiet and it seemed like things were getting back to normal.

"It is a far cry from the way things were last week. We are not sure whether the issues have been resolved and we will see what happens when this police contingent withdraws,” he said.

Police spokesperson Major Thulani Zwane said no incidents of violence were reported on Monday.

About 120 protesters were arrested last week. 

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