Soweto businessman and property owner, Mike Nkuna, has expressed disappointment after two of his malls in the township were vandalised. Nkuna owns the Protea and Jabulani malls which were vandalised by looters this week.
He told the SABC News that he had to personally intervene to stop the looters from burning down his properties.
Nkuna’s commercial property portfolio in the township is estimated at over R2-billion.
Property owners have been watching helplessly as groups of looters break and steal. Nkuna says he had to step in when he uncovered plans by some of the looters to burn down his mall.
“I was there at 5:30 and at 6:30 at Protea Glen, I averted a situation where they wanted to burn the Roots Butcher when we phoned the fire extinguisher they were on time, that whole center could have burned down.”
Nkuna says he didn’t expect this to happen during our democracy. His business empire has survived the volatile 1976 uprising. Today Nkuna can only reminisce over his neighbors’ actions who fought tooth and nail to protect local businesses in 1976.
“I remember well they never burned a single school. All corner shops owned by black people they were protected.”
SABC News reports on the looting at Jabulani Mall
Nkuna’s Protea Mall is valued at R700-million while his Jabulani Mall is worth an estimated value of R1.4 billion. He says the ongoing violent looting points to a lack of leadership.
Nkuna says he now faces a difficult job of convincing fearful tenants to bring back their business to Soweto. A difficult job that he cannot carry out alone.
“It’s our will to go and sit with investors remain and say this place is still good for investments cus the turnovers that we are doing in those areas are quite high, but we cannot do it alone, we need government.”
It will take months if not years to bring back the Jabulani Mall to its former glory. Where the community of Soweto can shop conveniently. A space where many call their place of work.
Mike Nkuna speaks to SABC News in the video below:
Source: SABC News (sabcnews.com)