Businesses in eZingolweni, on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast, say it will take time for them to recover from the impact of last month’s service delivery protests.

Angry residents blocked the N2 for several days. They also went on the rampage, looting shops and burning municipal offices.

The residents’ frustration stems from the ongoing water shortages.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs MEC, Sipho Hlomuka, held a meeting with community members and business owners.

Store Manager Thobani Mbhele, explaining how the protests have affected business, says, “The company lost more than R20 million during this time. As I am speaking, the elders in the area can’t get their pension from us or the ATM’s. The ATM’s were vandalised by protesters and banks did not return to install them.”

Leader of the informal traders in eZingolweni, Nonhlanhla Dhlomo, claims that protesters also victimised them.

“What happened in our area badly affected us as informal traders, as we don’t have insurers to cover our goods, but protesters took our bananas and some of us did not return after the protest,” Dhlomo says.