Bulwer supermarket owner still reeling from July unrest two years later

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Today marks the second anniversary of the July 2021 unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The unrest, believed to have been sparked by the imprisonment of the former president Jacob Zuma, for contempt of court, caused widespread looting of shops and businesses.

It also led to the deaths of over 300 people.

Some small-scale businesses in Bulwer in the midlands say they are yet to fully recover from the impact of the damage that looters caused during the civil unrest.

The South African Special Risk Insurance Association says it paid out R32-billion to businesses in the two provinces after the unrest.

Businessman Simo Bhede from Bulwer, outside of Pietermaritzburg says he lost everything.

Fifteen people were left unemployed when Bhede’s supermarket was looted and torched.

He says despite the insurance payout, he’s drowning in debt.

“I was devastated, my heart was bleeding, the unrest completely destroyed me. I used to have a well running supermarket in our town Bulwer and it had fifteen staff members who were able to feed their families. The unrest took everything away from us. I am now selling fruits and vegetables on the street. I never got any assistance to rebuild my business. My staff is unemployed now, we have never recovered. Like now sometimes we struggle to sell anything in our town for a week, we make some money if it is during pension payout.”

Woolworths looter arrested

Meanwhile, the man who stole groceries from Woolworths during the July unrest in 2021, has been sentenced to three years in prison suspended for five years.

However, he must serve 18 months of correctional supervision with 16 hours a month.

Mbuso Moloi pleaded guilty to theft and contravening the Road Traffic Management Act as he was driving a vehicle with false number plates.

On this charge, Moloi was fined R1 000 and suspended for five years.

Details in the report below: