Unrest and looting at Ray Nkonyeni Municipality on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast in July 2021
The July 2021 unrests in South Africa hit KwaZulu-Natal Province hard. The Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality falls in the Ugu District on the South Coast. CFO Selwyn Naidoo, chief fire officer at Ray Nkonyeni Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management said that the Ray Nkonyeni Local Municipality was affected by numerous shopping centres being burnt and looted. Ray Nkonyeni Municipality and Ugu District Disaster also responded to recover two bodies of young boys that were killed by a fire incident during public looting in Ward 17 at uMkholombe area.
“It is alleged that the two friends went inside the building that was used to store some bananas for the market. Thereafter the building was set alight whilst the boys were still inside resulting in loss of lives. Both victims were pronounced dead on the scene and uplifted by state van to state mortuary for identification. It should also be noted that the two boys were close friends and both attended Nobamba Secondary School, one in grade 10 and the other in grade 11”, said Chief Naidoo.
“The following eight areas are public areas that were heavily affected as shops and buildings were looted and burnt causing massive damage that will take a long time to fix: the Port Edward Shopping Centre including KFC building sustained damage to walls, windows and doors due to break-in and looting with estimated damage of R25 000 000. The Port Edward Boxer and Build It Hardware sustained damage to the doors and windows due to breaking in and looting of items resulting in an estimated R15 000 000 loss. The Port Edward Bargain Wholesalers sustained damage to doors and windows due to breaking in and looting of items with an estimated loss of R40 000 000. The Port Edward Butchery sustained damage to doors and windows due to breaking in and looting of items with a R10 000 000 loss.”
“The Gamalakhe Shopping Centre sustained damage to the whole structure due to fire and was looted as well with an estimated loss of R15 000 000. The Izingolweni Shopping Centre sustained damage to the whole structure due to fire and was looted as well at an estimated loss of R15 000 000 while the Ama Africa Hardware also sustained damage to the whole structure due to fire and was looted resulting in a R5 000 000 loss and the Gate Hardware in Nzimakwe sustained damage to the whole structure due to fire and looting with an estimated loss of R15 000 000.”
“A number of Government properties were affected including the UGU Market belonging to Ugu District Municipality. The building was set alight and was looted and vehicles were burnt. Two bodies were found inside the structure after the fire was extinguished. Estimated financial damage is R150 000 000. Some Ugu District Municipality vehicles were destroyed and include Ray Nkonyeni Municipality graders that were assigned to Technical Services with an estimated loss of R7 000 000,” added Chief Naidoo.
“Ray Nkonyeni Municipality developed a contingency plan to ensure that the various role-players in the event of potential major incidents or disasters relating to protest and looting and assume a multi-disciplinary approach to swiftly respond and minimise loss to lives and property. The focus of the plan is to ensure that there are no more shopping centres and properties being looted and burnt. Due to partnership of all stake holders the following big shopping malls were not vandalised of burnt: South Coast Mall, Shelly Centre, Hibiscus Mall (Margate), Manaba Spar, Vongo Spar, Ramsgate Spar, Shelly Beach Spar, Ntwini Spar and Hibberdene Shopping Centre. It should be noted that the above-mentioned centres and all other towns were successfully protected from vandalism and looting and it could have been worse had it been that all CBDs/shopping centres had been accessed.”
Various emergency relief materials were issued to affected household.
Source: CFO Selwyn Naidoo, chief fire officer, Ray Nkonyeni Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management