A considerable number of shops and establishments in Durban were looted over the weekend following a wave of violent protests that left law enforcement thinly stretched.
Aidan David, a former police officer and chairperson of the eThekwini outer south community police forum, said he has never witnessed anything like this.
“It just goes to show that our country is ill-equipped, naked and vulnerable to crime and criminals. We are not ready for this. We are just sitting ducks,” he said.
David condemned the looting and added that they no longer have anything to do with the protests to free imprisoned former president, Jacob Zuma.
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David, who also sits on the provincial CPF board, said he has called for reinforcements into Durban.
“It’s the first time I have seen criminals taking stuff in front of the police and the police can’t do anything. You can’t blame them because you have five police trying to stop hundreds of people, it’s impossible,” said David.
In Umlazi, the popular Mega City Mall was looted almost to its entirety on Sunday.
Visuals that are circulating on social media show looters repeatedly storming the mall despite a small number of police trying to push them back.
Throughout Umlazi, foreign-owned shops were also being broken into and looted without police presence.
The mall released a statement last night on its Facebook page announcing the mall was “closed due protest action”.
Thandokazi Moyo from Umlazi L-section said she witnessed her local shop being looted on Sunday night.
“They took about 10 minutes breaking into the shop and another 10 minutes cleaning it out and throughout that time, there were no police,” she said.
It was also a “free for all” on Durban's South Beach as police could only watch when a large number of looters stormed the shops.
Looters, some even students staying in nearby residences were seen on videos casually grabbing alcohol from the Liquor City Store and running away with it.
Adjacent to Liquor City on Mahatma Gandhi Road, the Superspar was broken into and also looted.
Zama Shange, a Mangosuthu University student living in the sea board residence on south beach, watched everything unfold from her 10th floor window.
“Police were not doing anything, people were just walking in and out of shops carrying liquor, food and anything else. It was surreal watching it unfold in real time,” she said.
There were also lootings confirmed in Mariannhill, KwaMamdekazi where an armed violent mob overran police.
Watercrest Mall in Hillcrest was also looted on Sunday afternoon.
Police had to fire rubber bullets at looters at Knowles Spar in Pinetown on Sunday night after they broke into the shop.
A number of shops were also broken into in Durban central, along West, St Georges and Field streets.
There have already been sporadic reports of protests on Monday morning in Pinetown, Isipingo, KwaMashu and Durban central.