Xenophobia: dealers' 40 cars worth ₦48.78m burnt to the ground in Johannesburg

09/04/2019

Posted by: Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Violence in Jeppe as protesters invaded dealerships and burnt down 40 cars worth ₦48.78m, belonging to foreigners. Click here for the full story!

Many car dealerships and shop owners picked up pieces of their livelihood after protesters ran rampant in the area, just about two kilometers from the buzzing street surrounding Jeppe police station, on Sunday in Johannesburg.

Among those affected by this protest that led to destruction of properties, is the Salbro Auto, whose car dealership among others was burnt to the ground. 

image-of-cars-burnt-in-jepperstown

As a result of the mob invasion, several cars worth millions were set on fire recently in Jepperstown

One of the destroyed dealerships had belonged to the Salajee family since 1991. According to the owner, Abdallah Salajee, everything was fine before they closed their shop on Saturday. He said the violence was brought to their knowledge by the owner of a workshop next door.

In his interview with TimesLive, he said:

"Overnight things happened, you come back to nothing on Monday morning. Last night there was not a minute of sleep.

"We feel terrible and we can't handle it. You can't even complain to the police or anyone," 

According to him, the damage and cars destroyed is estimated to be around R2m (₦48.78m). Unfortunately, none of the destroyed cars was insured.

image-of-burnt-down-car-dealership-in-Johannesburg

It appears businesses owned by foreigners were targeted by this group of protesters in Johannesburg

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It was on Sunday that the violent act took place, which led to the mob looting and setting ablaze many shops within that area. Dozens of vehicles were set on fire at many dealerships.

As at Monday, many people were seen drinking while pictures of the damage were taken by others. It was indeed a massive crowd at the sight of the destruction, filled with burnt tyres and bullet shells.

Inner city war-zone: Protesters loot and destroy Jeppestown

An eye witness, Isaac Hlatshwayo, who lived in the backroom of the 2nd dealership, made it known that a group of people were seen moving back and forth the Jules Street on Sunday at 9pm. He said it was around 2am that the mob targeted the dealership on Monday. He also disclosed that a car was set on fire by this group, which later spread to other cars.

Isaac said:

"They broke the big gate open and then they came in. They moved two cars out and came into my room where I was sleeping and took some money from me, which was about R120."

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Obinna Henry, owner of one of the dealerships, while pointing to the burnt down Audi TT, said over thirty cars worth millions, were burnt to the ground.

Lerato Peete, a shop owner and resident in the area, said:

"In fact, I denounced my South African connection on this day. How is it possible that a black person can be foreign in Africa. Who is a foreigner in Africa?

"My mother was an activist, my father was an activist, because we didn't have a place to call our own. I was born out of South Africa."

The car dealerships were not only the target, as several shops were looted and goods carted away by this mob.

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Oluwaseun Adeniji

Oluwaseun Adeniji

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Oluwaseun Adeniji is a passionate writer and a poet with special interest in writing about cars. He is a master degree holder in international conflict and management. He enjoys feeding the public with the latest auto gist and well researched car reviews. He is also a strong football lover. So, if Oluwaseun is not writing, expect him to be reading about sports.

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