Looting leaves Pietermartizberg broken

by Jessica Freedman

Photo by author.

Tuesday morning, 13 July, brought a heavy sadness to the people of Pietermaritzburg. Looking upon the rubble and smashed glass of damaged shopping centres, the citizens were forced to reckon with the fear and violence of the previous night. On Monday, 12 July, people ran through the city, starting fires and looting shopping centres. While the army and police forces were on-scene to assist the shops, the looters still caused severe damage. Most shopping centres were left desolate, destroyed, and unable to open the following day. Many shops that were not targeted by looters also chose not to open, just in case the looters returned. Pietermaritzburg residents were left afraid and uncertain, not knowing when the protests would end or when the shops would reopen.

One of the targets of the looting was the Scottsville Mall in Pietermaritzburg. Despite the neighbourhood watch and the polices’ best efforts, the shopping centre was severely damaged. Shouting and gunshots were heard during the altercation. Photo by author.
Multiple restaurants in Scottsville Mall, such as this JP’s Fish & Chips, had their windows smashed. Photo by author.
Photo by author.
Few shops opened on the Tuesday following the looting. Camperdown Superspar was one of the few. Pietermaritzburg residents flocked to Camperdown to stock up on groceries to prepare for the rest of the protests. Photo by author.
The uncertainty of when the protests would end meant that the line to get into Camperdown Spar stretched down the road. Joining the line at 10:00 meant being allowed into Spar at 13:30. Photo by author.
Shelves were left empty in the Spar as people bought imperishables and essential items in bulk. Photo by author.
A sign asking “want change?” almost seemed to be taunting those waiting in line. It is increasingly clear that change is mandatory and inevitable. The question is whether the change will be for the better or worse. Photo by author.

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