Fire destroys hawkers building

The roof of the hawkers building caved in and most of the stock inside the store had been destroyed. PHOTO: LEBAKENG NKABI

Madiba Hawkers Botshabelo, one of the biggest suppliers for hawkers and local shops in Botshabelo, burned to the ground in the early hours of last Wednesday morning.
There was smoke everywhere when emergency services were called to the scene. The store was already engulfed in flames, but the fire department fought hard to extinguish the fire, with the blaze lasting till mid-day.
The other side of the store collapsed when the roof caved in and most of the stock inside the store had caught fire. Madiba Hawkers Botshabelo’s manager, Tshidiso Mphandle, told Voice: “I got a call at around 2:00 in the morning from the security guard working here in Re-A-Hola Shopping Complex, who told me that the store was on fire. I was shocked because I never noticed anything that could cause a fire at the store.”
He added that when he arrived at the store there was smoke coming from the inside. Firefighters helped him to open the store. “To our shock it was not only smoke in the store, some of the shelves were on fire. We don’t have the exact amount of stock we lost, but I can say we lost everything. We have also lost our jobs now because we cannot work and we are still waiting to hear from the forensic team regarding the cause of the fire.”
Nthabiseng Matela, a cashier at Madiba Hawkers Botshabelo, told Voice that she also came to the store at 04:30 and found firefighters already trying to stop the fire. “This is sad because I have lost my job. I have been working here for eight years, but that is gone now. I don’t know how I am going to take care of my family without a job,” said Matela sadly.
Spokesperson for the fire department, Kagisho Mokgethi, said that upon their arrival other firefighters were already on the scene. “The fire was powerful, but we managed to stop it. The damage is huge and we don’t have any information on the cause of the fire yet,” he concluded. – Lebakeng Nkabi