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Normalcy returns to city

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“We’ve lost quite a bit of money through the protests but it seems like things are back to normal.”

BUSINESS AS USUAL: It was back to normal in Galeshewe yesterday and many tuck shops did a roaring trade. Picture: Danie van der Lith

A SENSE of normalcy returned to Kimberley yesterday and in Galeshewe it was business as usual with most tuck shops doing a roaring trade following protests earlier this week.

Some remnants of the makeshift barricades could still be found along the major roads of the township but traffic flowed normally in the streets, while uniformed schoolchildren walked on the pavements.

The start of the month saw long queues of people drawing money at the Galeshewe Plaza shopping centre, where some of the protective glass at ATMs had been extensively damaged.

There were still some tuck shops that were not helping customers at lunchtime, but most were open.

Most business owners said that they were glad to have had a busy morning and one shop assistant said that it was almost as if the last few days of protests had never happened.

“We were forced to close up everything but if you look around today, you would never think that just a few hours ago there was a complete shutdown,” he said.

“We’ve lost quite a bit of money through the protests but it seems like things are back to normal.”

The owner of another shop in Nobengula Street, who asked not to be named out of fear of victimisation, said he was concerned that the current situation was only temporary.

“We will have to see how things go when Matika is back in court on August 22.”

“For now, the people are carrying on with their lives but the last few weeks have shown us that things can get ugly very quickly.”

Nocci CEO, Sharon Steyn, said that it had been a typical day for businesses in the city, but added that the repercussions of the last few days would be far-reaching and long-lasting.

“Most people were back at work and apart from the losses that many people have suffered, things were back to normal,” she said. “Hopefully, the protests are over.

“Some of the businesses we have spoken to aren’t even able to pay salaries because of the costs of the damage and destruction and nobody can afford stuff like this to happen again.

“If the bigger guys are suffering, how can the smaller businesses, like tuck shops, survive?”

Meanwhile, spokesperson for the Sol Plaatje Municipality, Sello Matsie, said that the clean-up operations continued and urged residents to be cautious when driving in affected areas.

“Our operations are ongoing,” he said. “We have been making good progress with the clean-up process and have had several members of the public stepping in to help.

“We believe this process will be finished by Saturday or Sunday but, for now, we urge drivers to be extra cautious.”