Certificates of bravery handed to behind-the-scene July unrest heroes
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DURBAN - SOME of the behind-the-scene heroes who patrolled the suburbs to keep residents safe during the unrest in July in KwaZulu-Natal have been handed certificates of appreciation.
Several people were honoured in Durban during a campaign by African Democratic Change (AdeC) leader Visvin Reddy who said those who had patrolled the streets day and night were the heroes of the community.
“Community Hero” certificates were handed to those who selflessly patrolled streets and prevented further looting and loss of lives.
Reddy said those arrested for vigilante-style murders were innocent until proven guilty in the courts. If found guilty, Reddy said, they must get life sentences.
The street patrols prevented anarchy and mayhem during the unrest, he said.
A school caretaker and Phoenix resident Themba Magubane was one of the recipients. Reddy said Magubane braved all the threats of violence and looting that took place.
Most of the patrollers were elderly to which Reddy said activists were people who had a passion for working with their community.
“We need this type of leadership. While many were afraid and sat in their homes, some patrollers had sleepless nights. The volunteer patrollers were protecting the community.
“The Volunteer Community Patrollers programme is part of my initiative to employ the unemployed in our communities. I would pay them a stipend and give them hand-held radios linked to a control room. We must make neighbourhoods safe again,” Reddy said.
Mervin Pillay created a WhatsApp group to assist and co-ordinate volunteer patrollers in Phoenix.
Andrew Boniface of Northdene played a role in co-ordinating street patrols in his suburb.
The Department of Trade, Industry and Communication, the Industrial Development Corporation and the National Empowerment Fund presentation in August revealed that in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal 100 malls and shops were burnt or sustained significant fire damage, 112 shopping centres were looted or damaged, 1 223 ATMs were destroyed and 269 bank branches damaged.
A total of 1 787 retail stores were damaged, 3 931 retail stores were looted or affected by the unrest, 90 pharmacies were destroyed and 113 communication infrastructure points were damaged.
In KZN, 45 warehouses, 22 factories, 139 schools, 37 delivery trucks and stock worth R1.5 billion was looted. The loss in both provinces from the looting amounts to R20bn.
About 135 farms in KZN suffered extensive damage when the sugar cane was burnt. The Education Department stated that 137 schools; three educational centres and eight circuit offices were damaged in KZN. In Gauteng, 43 schools were damaged.