Eight stalls were on fire Wednesday night near the Pan-Africa Mall in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg.
Reason behind the fire is it unknown and the people who run their businesses in the stalls woke up to devastating news, the Johannesburg Emergency Medical Services spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said the fire broke out before 9pm.
“Last night at around 8.30pm we responded to a fire incident at the Pan-Africa Mall in Alexandra. Several stalls outside the mall were on fire. Seven to eight stalls were affected. We managed to extinguish the fire to prevent it from spreading to nearby stalls,” said Mulaudzi.
Mulaudzi said there were no injuries or fatalities reported and the cause of the fire is unknown.
Mokgadi Mashitatona, 51, whose family ran three of the burnt stalls, said they lost stock worth R60,000 in the fire while in an interview with Sowetan.
“This business helped us to buy food, pay for our children’s school fees and buy more stock. I do not know how we are going to survive,” said Mashitatona.
According to Alexendra new outlet Alexnews, Matome David Mashitatona, who lives in 16th Avenue and has been trading at the Pan Africa Square since 1989, said the fire started at about 20:00 as he received a call at about that time, alerting him that his stall was on fire.
Mashitatona owns three stalls, the other two belonged to his wife and their daughter, Winnie, and all had stocked estimated to be well over R50 000, which include wooden spoons for cooking pap, rat and roach poisons, women’s face creams, lipsticks, nail polish, eyebrow pencils, socks for both men and women, washing racks, ant killers, cigarettes, and table clothes.
Emergency Medical Services spokesperson added that the investigations are under way to determine the cause of the fire.
“We also want to distance ourselves from allegations that the fire might have been caused by an altercation between members of Dudula [Operation Dudula] and foreign nationals. We do not want to involve ourselves on that one. We do not have evidence to that effect.
“We are conducting investigations as to determine the cause of the fire incident and preliminary investigations will tell us as to what the cause of the fire might be,” said Mulaudzi.
Thursday morning, people were standing next to the stalls looking on as their owners on the scene were cleaning up and trying to find what was left from the damage.