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Transforming Society

Securing Rights

Restoring Dignity

Looting hits town hard after child’s death

The Witness 27 Apr 2017

Locals clean up after overnight looting, when protesters took to the streets to demonstrate the death of a boy in Coligny, North West province, yesterday.
COLIGNY — After more than 70 years of conducting business in Coligny in the North West, a business owner says he is closing his shop after it suffered nearly half a million rands in damage during violent protests this week. “We are heartbroken because it is not only our shop, it is the whole town that’s been destroyed,” Buddy Shalala, who owns a furniture shop, told News24 yesterday. He said his family has been operating the business in the area since 1928.
“At the moment it’s very difficult to ascertain the damage but it must be close to half a million.”
Shalala said they intend repairing the damages, but would not be continuing with the business.
“We are calling it quits. We will repair damage and rent out [the] building, but we are stopping the business. We are not carrying on with this business anymore.”
Police confirmed that two people have been arrested in connection with the death of a 12yearold boy in Coligny, which was apparently the reason for violent protests in the area.

Initial reports said the boy died after falling from the back of a bakkie.
Residents claimed a farmer assaulted the boy after finding him in his maize field on Friday, City Press reported on Tuesday. Police said they were looking for the boy’s family.

The uncle of the one of the arrested men said yesterday the boy died when he jumped off the bakkie on which he was being taken to police after being caught stealing sunflowers.
Pieter Karsten said he had advised his nephew and another man to hand themselves over to police.
Premier Supra Mahumapelo appealed for calm in the Ditsobotla local municipality and assured residents that law and order would be maintained.
His statement was issued aft er shops were looted, and three houses, trucks and a tractor, and an armoured police vehicle were set alight in Coligny and Lichtenburg since protests started.

In Lichtenburg on Friday, a truck carrying 38 000 chicks was set alight. The Lichtenburg protests were reportedly linked to service delivery problems.
Coligny resident Abdul Ahmed told News24 that protesters first destroyed a liquor store before heading to other shops.
“The tension got worse when the people who were in town went back to the [township].” He alleged that the protesters went back to the township and called for more people to come loot shops.

Another businessperson, Adam Ssebunya, said the protests began peacefully and turned violent. He realised his shoe and clothing store had been looted when he saw people carrying goods from his store. — News24.

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