THEY HAD a field day, ravaging shops and grabbing everything they could.

But now that the feeding frenzy is over, spaza shops stand empty and looters regret what they did.


It’s only been a week since the looting of more than 100 foreign-owned spazas, and people who destroyed the shops in Molapo, Soweto, regret their actions.

A 28-year-old man admitted to the SunTeam he was a thief who helped himself to cold drink and groceries.

He said: “But it’s all finished. I don’t know where to buy things.”

A female looter (44) said she took food because her fridge was empty and she needed it.

“I’m sorry for what I did. I want the spaza owners to come back. I won’t loot again,” said the thieving woman.

A young graduate from White City who can’t find work said: “Now I can’t find a place to buy a loose draw. I have nowhere to buy data to apply for a job.

Some looters said they’d guard spazas the way some residents in Pimville did.

“We walk a long way to get what we need,” said a looter.

A resident said the same food that people had previously claimed was expired was taken to their houses.

“It’s greed. If they really had a problem with the people selling illegal goods in the Joburg CBD, they should have gone and looted there,” she said.

Phumzile Simelane (50) from Pimville said she was forced to buy bread at Shoprite, which is far from her house.

“I have to get bread and airtime there, but it’s far away. I don’t want to walk so far and I don’t have money for a taxi. The spaza which is just six houses away from my house is now closed,” she said.

Another resident said spaza shops are convenient because they open early and close late.

But she said they don’t have enough stock and open at odd times.

“Discipline is a big issue,” she said.

Nomvula Mkhize from Protea South said she advised foreigners who rent space in her yard to close before trouble started.

“My tenants are my only source of income. Anyone who messes with them is messing with my money,” said Nomvula (58).

Saleh Abdul (43), a foreign shop owner who stays in a garage in Mapetla, said it was too early to go back.

“I have no money to restock and I’m not sure if I’ll be safe,” he said.