Millions in damage after Mustek building burned to the ground

Mustek has informed shareholders that the losses suffered as a result of its building in KwaZulu-Natal being looted and set on fire are not expected to exceed R20 million.

“The loss of profit due to business interruption will be quantified in due course,” the company said in a statement posted to the JSE’s SENS.

“The Group has appropriate insurance cover and has notified its insurers accordingly.”

Looters attacked Mustek’s offices in the North of Durban on Monday, stealing everything of value and leaving the facility wrecked.

On Tuesday evening a video posted by SABC journalist Jayed-Leigh Paulse showed that the building had been set ablaze.

Mustek’s Durban offices handled orders from technology retailers in the area, dispatched goods to clients, and offered after-sales support services. Stock of some items was held on the premises.

Mustek managing director Hein Engelbrecht told MyBroadband at the time that they had thankfully told the few operational staff still working from the offices to stay home on Monday.

“We just had a feeling… we saw the reports of unrest and some of our staff said that they were struggling to get out of their neighbourhoods. So we told everyone to stay home on Monday,” said Engelbrecht.

With South Africa’s adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown in place, all the sales staff that usually work from Mustek’s Durban facility were already working from home.

Only some operational staff who work on dispatch and after-sales support were still working from the office.

Engelbrecht said that when the looters first attacked, their security personnel tried to hold them out but were overrun.

One security guard was hospitalised.

The police soon arrived on the scene and dispersed the mob. While the situation was calm the police were called away to quell unrest in a different location.

Engelbrecht said the police had not been gone for ten minutes before the looters returned in full force and stripped the office bare.

Looters also tore through the property, ripping screens off of walls and damaging company delivery vehicles.

Some vandals then returned on Tuesday and set the building alight.

Mustek said that it has secured temporary warehouse and expects the KwaZulu-Natal branch to reopen as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

“The Group’s priority remains the well-being and safety of its employees, customers and assets. Trade continues as normal in the rest of the Group’s operations,” said Mustek.

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Millions in damage after Mustek building burned to the ground