Workers fear for jobs after 10 businesses burn down

By Rorisang Modiba

Dozens of workers employed at 10 businesses in Mthatha’s central business district 

that were gutted by fire on Friday morning fear that they now have no jobs. 

This is in the province where adult unemployment has reached 40%, with youth unemployment at 70%.

Witnesses say the fire started at 1am on Friday and continued for over five hours. 

Fire trucks from King Sabatha Dalindyebo municipality worked for hours to extinguish the blaze.

But in the end, three buildings were burned to ruins by the time the fire was brought under control.

Mthatha’s busiest streets, including Elliot and Madeira streets that connect to the N2 highway, were all blocked along with the KwaNtozoke Market, which closed trading for the morning.

In a town where burnt buildings have become havens of crime and drug trafficking, the community fears the ruins will also become hideouts for criminals known as “amaphara”.

Mthatha resident Sifiso Tshangisa Vayi said: “That [burnt] building will be a smoking zone of amaphara because our government doesn’t fix or revive burnt buildings. They let them be.”

Sifiso said the fire-damaged buildings should be sold to developers to quickly refurbish them before they become crime spots.

“They don’t even want to sell [them to] public works. People will be robbed and killed from now on [in this] area … But they won’t care,” Sifiso said.

Pictured above: Firefighters extinguish an inner-city blaze.

Source: Supplied


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