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In KwaZulu-Natal specifically in the mid-South Coast areas, Umzinto and Umkomaas were hit hard.

In the space of just a week, South Africans watched their once flourishing towns turn to ash, following destructive protest action and looting, calling for former president Jacob Zuma to be released from prison.

In KwaZulu-Natal specifically in the mid-South Coast areas, Umzinto and Umkomaas were hit hard.

In both of these towns, a number of retail stores and privately owned businesses were looted, vandalised and eventually set alight leaving many business owners with almost nothing to return to but an empty and burnt building.

The Umzinto Post Office, Bhai Plaza Shopping Centre and a bank were some of the many buildings burnt in Umzinto, and in neighbouring areas, the Dududu municipal offices and Mistake Farm community hall were burnt down, and the Vulamehlo Library was vandalised.

In an attempt to rebuild communities, Umdoni Municipality initiated the Umdoni Clean-up Campaign.

The team, consisting of municipal officials, councillors, the business sector and members of the community, took to the streets of Umzinto last Thursday (July 15) to kick off the cleaning campaign in the CBD.

“It was imperative that we earnestly involve ourselves in paving a way for the rebuilding process,” said Umdoni mayor, Sibongile Khathi.

“Although this town will not get back to its feet instantaneously, it was necessary for us as government and the community at large to show support to local businesses.”

Locals united and worked tirelessly to restore the town and thoroughly cleaned several parts of the area including the taxi rank, Bhai Plaza shopping centre, and parking bays throughout the CBD.

A similar and successful initiative took place in the Umkomaas village by business owners and locals as well.

Overall, the clean-up was a success, but mayor Khathi explained that the community is yet to feel the aftermath of these events as resources might be limited and a number of people might be jobless, which in turn will raise the unemployment rate.

“These events have grossly infringed government’s community development priorities which include the acceleration of economic recovery, implementation of economic reforms to create sustainable jobs and drive inclusive growth whilst fighting corruption,” she explained.

The municipality also met the affected Umzinto business owners prior to the clean-up and reassured them that the municipality will assist where possible in order to rebuild the Umdoni economy.

An Umzinto local and businesswoman, who wishes to remain anonymous, stated that she was left speechless when she found out her family business was looted in the CBD, but after seeing the community unite for the clean-up and assisting her in her store, it gave her a bit of hope for better days.

Mayor Khathi and her team extend their thanks to all who participated in the clean-up and urges communities to continue working together in the spirit of Ubuntu to rebuild what was lost.


Article written by: Vanisha Moodley

Photo credit: South Coast Herald

Link: https://southcoastherald.co.za/441135/unite-clean-up-and-rebuild/


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