On Tuesdays Faizel Hendricks, 55, from Morgenster, buys produce for his fruit and vegetable stall, which he’s had on the corner of Highlands Drive and Jakes Gerwel Drive near Wildwood for the past 20 years, while the watchman stays to keep the stall safe.
Last Tuesday, May 1 turned out to be different. His son, Ebrahim Hendricks, called him to tell him that his trucks and stall were set alight during the protest embarked on by residents of Isiqalo informal settlement, which is located opposite his stall.
He rushed to the scene. “By the time I got there, everything was burned down. The people at the protest first opened the stall and stole my things, then set it alight,” said Mr Hendricks.
“The police did not help me with my stall but the Rondevlei/ Collville Neighbourhood Watch helped me with the stall,” said Mr Hendricks.
One of his four trucks was smashed and bashed. The window is cracked and the door is broken, said Mr Hendricks.
“I would employ people of Isiqalo,” said Mr Hendricks. “At first I felt very upset and sad that my stall has been destroyed due to protest action. After my stall was burned, I missed my staff that day. They gave me hope in my heart that I can continue with my business.”
Mr Hendricks’ son’s stall is on the corner of Morgenster Road and Weltevreden Park Way. He and his son, along with their staff, worked together to rebuild Mr Hendricks’ stall by packing the goods and getting new materials.
Mercy Pongwana, 60, who now also lives in Isiqalo, has been working for Mr Hendricks for nine years.
“I heard a big bang of tear gas being thrown at my door, my eyes were tearing. When I stepped outside I saw that Mr Hendricks’ stall was burning. I was so angry because I was thinking about my job as I have no other place to work, I am a pensioner,” said Ms Pongwana.
Mr Hendricks worked with his father, Achmat Hendricks, since he was 9 and took over his father’s business.
“I would really like to thank all the people of the community who helped put my stall back together as burnt as it was and came from far and wide,” said Mr Hendricks.