The popular Yeoville market that spurred growth in informal trade was burned to the ground on Monday evening, and police are confident that this was an arson attack.
Who burned down Yeoville market?
Residents of the Johannesburg town will have to find alternative means to find below-the-market fruit and vegetable products now that the popular informal trading centre is no more.
On social media, opinion is divided on the forces responsible for the torching of the Yeoville market. However, according to small business owners, most of whom are foreign nationals, the inferno was not accidental.
In fact, and as reported by Eyewitness News, Yeoville market shop owners lay the blame squarely on the xenophobic ‘Operation Dudula’ movement. According to some business owners, a number of stores received threats in the days leading up to Monday’s inferno.
“Last week, they said they don’t want foreigners here and we said ‘no problem’ and closed the market, and they came back and threatened to set the market alight,” one of the store owners claimed.
In a statement, Gauteng police spokesperson Mavela Masondo confirmed that authorities received distress calls from the market situated on Rockey Street, and on arrival, “the police found firefighters busy extinguishing about five stalls that were burning.”
Masondo also confirmed that an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the fire, but suspicions, early on into the probe, suggest this may have been a planned arson attack.
However, Operation Dudula’s Zandile Dubula strongly disagrees and has challenged Yeoville market shop owners to present proof of their claims.
“If they have proof (of arson), they need to bring it forward. We at Operation Dudula do not promote criminality. So if it’s one of our members, then we will let the law take its course,” she said.
Here is footage of the incident that was caught on camera.
Yeoville market burnt.— Sisa (@BlazB84) June 21, 2022
Whoever did it, did SA bad pic.twitter.com/VVX0YZtCUc
#yeoville market fire is proof that some citizens are plain stupid! Where are you going to buy veg & fruits tomorrow? Why burn a place that has kitchens using gas to cook? Plain stupidity and disgusting behaviour pic.twitter.com/Fz8z7ehnz7— balemu (@BbeCupcake) June 20, 2022
#OperationDudula last night in Yeoville. They burnt down the Yembela market. Speaking Lingala, a Congolese resident says he tried to call the women who sell in the market but no one answered. #ChannelAfrica pic.twitter.com/jjm4v06N82— Channel Africa (@channelafrica1) June 21, 2022
Yeoville market was burnt down pic.twitter.com/U9fMrCwcBZ— Kasi Economy (@KasiEconomy) June 22, 2022