Here's what really happened at the Dube Butchery that was 'petrol bombed' ahead of the shutdown

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The Dube butchery is currently closed after it was burned down on Sunday
The Dube butchery is currently closed after it was burned down on Sunday
Snazo Notho

'Butchery petrol-bombed in national shutdown', the headlines screamed.

Lumped together with news about the national shutdown, it was described as one of the events that was the outcome of strike, which led to thousands taking to the streets in Johannesburg and the Eastern Cape, with smaller protests in the Western Cape. 

The fire broke out on Sunday night. The following day when Dito Banz, who started working at the butchery last year, was asked to check the shop he noticed that there was still something burning inside the shop and called the fire fighters.  

Now that the fires have been extinguished, Drum heads to the Soweto butchery to find out what happened. 

When you approach the Dube Butchery, which was destroyed by fire on Sunday evening, the day before the national shutdown, one is welcomed by the stench smell of meat that is off.

There is yellow tape around it and there is one short gun cartridge as you approach the roller door that was vandalised so that the intruders can gain access.

Through the door, one can see the shopping basket and the closer you get, the more you smell rotting meat.

The butchery is currently closed but workers are still coming to work to make sure that people do not come in to take anything else from the burnt shop.

Ahead of the national shutdown, the security guards who were supposed to work until Monday morning were given time off for their own safety as they might not have been able to secure transport home on the day of the protest.

One of the security personnel in the yard where Dube Butchery is situated in Sowet, who doesn’t want to be named, tells Drum that he knocked off at 7pm on Sunday, and the security guard after him came to his shift but was told to knock off early so that they can be able to get transport and get home safe before the strike starts.

National Shutdown, burned butchery, Dube Soweto
The Dube butchery is currently closed after it was burned down on Sunday

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The butchery was robbed and set on fire.

“It is sad that when people hear that there will be a protest or shut down the first thing they think of is looting. This time around it is suspicious because we have a butchery, a furniture shop and a bakery in one yard but only the butchery is robbed. And to show that they targeted a specific business after they were done here, they went to the shop across the road which is owned by Pakistanis but fortunate enough as they were about to break in, the people from the hostel came out to assist the shop owners,” says the security personnel.

Dito tells Drum that he has been coming to work since the incident happened to look after the shop. He says it is bad that his employer must deal with the loss of the stock because the people who came didn’t take all the meat.

The meat that they left behind is now off.

“This happened around 11pm on Sunday. When we got here it [the shop] was burning and the people from Dube Hostel had just chased the culprits. On Monday, we came there was no fire, and some furniture was still okay, but yesterday when I got a call from my boss to come to check the store, there was fire, I called the fire fighters who came and assisted.”

Dito says he thinks the people who did this are from around and that they started to burn the place because there were cameras in the store.

National Shutdown, burned butchery, Dube Soweto
The Dube butchery is currently closed after it was burned down on Sunday

“I think they were just looting because they took meat but then realised that there are cameras, then they started the fire. We have a huge generator at the shop, I think that is where they got the petrol for.”

He says this is the first time something like this has ever happened because the yard is safe and out of the three shops, only the butchery was robbed. He says his boss is currently not in a good space to speak and is trying to get his things in order.

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“We are just sitting outside and doing nothing. We are now just looking after the things that are inside, we know it is not much. The Nyaope boys have already started taking some of the iron and other things because the gate is currently not locked, anyone can gain access and do as they please at the back.”

He says this hurts them as workers because that was their only source of income and now their pay will be delayed because of this fire.

“Our boss asked us to give him a week to sort this out and then he will get back to us regarding our pay. We can’t complain because we see the situation and we understand that there is too much damage, but he promised to pay us when all is settled. We are happy that we still have our jobs, he assured us that we are not going to lose our job, he will just fix the shop and we will continue working.”

Drum has reached out to the police for comment. 

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