The cost of looting of businesses and damage to property over the last week is believed to be in the billions. Many SMME owners are unsure how they are going to survive and continue to employ their workers. Robyn Le Roux of Pro Parts, a family business that was started by her husband and his brothers 25 years ago, told Vutivi News that their dreams, along with the livelihoods of those the business supported, had been shattered.
Pro Parts, which was in Katlehong in Ekurhuleni and sold motor spares, was looted and burnt to the ground. It had 15 permanent and temporary employees. “My husband opened the shop for his children, and was running it with our eldest son,” Le Roux said.
“The plan was to branch out into more businesses.” She said the business’ efforts to make a difference in the community were unable to save the shop. “Through the business, we were able to help take care of a lot of people in the community,” she said. “The business enabled other family members to start their own businesses too.”
Le Roux estimated the damage to their business was between R5-million and R6-million. “… the major thing for us is the fact that income for ourselves and our staff has been taken away. We have two months (of) bills that we need to pay (and) our staff and families are hit hard because this had a ripple effect.” She said at this point the family did not know if it was going to recover.
Another business that has felt the impact of the violence is in Daveyton, also in Ekurhuleni. Lawrence Nkanyane works for his family’s business, Esihlahleni Butchery and Shopping Centre. They also have a spaza shop they rent out from his house. Nkanyane told Vutivi News that the shopping complex has been operating for over 20 years and had 14 tenants. Nkanyane said that his first instinct when heard that shops were being looted, was to rush home and protect the spaza shop.
“If they break into the shop, they will break into the house, so I had to come back and safeguard the premises,” he said. “Two shops were looted, and while one shop was not heavily looted, the other shop was ravaged, and they only left broken shelves. This could result in R80,000 in damages.
“The rent they won’t be able to pay will leave a dent in our pockets because the hardware pays R15,000 monthly, and the shop pays R7000,” he said. Nkanyane said that the centre would be closed for the next two weeks to decide on the way forward.