PORT EDWARD RESPONDS: ‘I AM SO PROUD OF MY COMMUNITY,’ SAYS RESIDENT

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Journalist and television producer Phillip Lennon of Leisure Bay ventured out to capture the clean-up operation in the town of Port Edward.

The dust hadn’t even settled and residents of Port Edward and Harding, two of the towns hardest hit by looting, begun mop-up operations.

In Harding, rioters destroyed every shop, leaving residents with nothing – no food, milk or bread.

Farmers, especially timber farmers, worked around the clock to put out fires started by the looters between Ndabeni and Kokstad side of Harding.

However, by Wednesday, the community including farmers and locals of all race groups united to begin a clean-up operation of the town.

Journalist and television producer Phillip Lennon of Leisure Bay ventured out to capture the clean-up operation in the town of Port Edward.

He said he did not have to try hard to get photos of people of all race groups working together.

“Everyone climbed in in a big way,” he added.

“As I was driving back to Leisure Bay I came across the guys from Move One Million and they were busy cleaning the R61 between Glenmore and Port Edward,” said Phillip.

Phillipa Makepeace, the Herald’s former scribe, wrote that it’s been a very emotional roller coaster few days after the looting and destruction of their businesses.

“My town is amazing… little Port Edward at the end of the KZN road! Our shops and shopping mall have been smashed and looted. Fires have raged in many spots but were contained by local residents.”

The looters left town in organised bakkies, trailers and vehicles, so laden with loot they could hardly move.

For hundreds of metres north and south of town on the N2, broken bags of sugar, rice etc were strewn everywhere along the road, obviously fallen off the the over-laden get away vehicles.

The stainless steel deep fryer from KFC hung precariously over the pavement, too heavy to load.

Six ATMs at the mall were removed from the walls and smashed. Litter everywhere.

“What a sad day on Monday! As night fell, residents were told to stay in their homes, gun shots spat all night long and into Tuesday. The looting and vandalism continued unabated. Saps were totally overwhelmed and no sign of any help from the army.”

As the afternoon wore on, the community realised there was no help coming from anywhere so they got together and set up blockades at the only two entrances into Port Edward.

The sneaky insurgents started walking into Port Edward through the bush in twos and by the time anyone realised what was happening a mob of about 40 had gathered in the open grassland of Rennies to the south of town.

“They tried to storm a couple of houses on the edge of town but were repelled by the brave residents. Civilian security members rushed to guard that southern border and the mob was forced to slink away. After dark criminals hit our relatively new Boxer and Buildit,” she said.

At about 8pm. the looters tried to enter Amos Hardware. The owners and staff were waiting inside and managed to hold them off. Our Bargain Wholesalers did the same.

These residents and business owners called in their relatives and a security company from Port Shepstone.

They joined the handful of desperate residents at the roadblocks and together, side by side, Muslim and Christian, held the blockades.

These same brave men and women have guarded the town in shifts, day and night. The women have been cooking and delivering food to them.

“Our town has stood strong and helped each other. I am SO proud! Clean up teams have worked tirelessly to clean up the mess. Apart from smashed windows and railings, things are looking spic and span again,” she said.

Residents were unable to buy food or petrol. The Muslim community from Durban sent a few truck loads of essential food stuffs which were donated to Port Edward residents.

“The atmosphere of ubuntu is very evident. Our people have stood together and helped each other. The future is uncertain, but we all sleep easier knowing the caliber of our townsfolk guarding the town.. Thank you, deeply, to all those who have helped and supported in this time of crisis.”

 

Article written by: Shona Aylward

Photo credit: South Coast Herald

Link: https://southcoastherald.co.za/441281/port-edward-responds-i-am-so-proud-of-my-community-says-resident/

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