Africa-Press – Eswatini. Two arson attacks wreaked havoc on two businesses, where cars and heavy plant machinery worth over E2 million were burnt beyond recognition.
This happened at a workshop in Manzini and at Inyatsi Depot at Hhelehhele in the wee hours of yesterday.
One of the equipment burnt beyond recognition is a tractor belonging to mkhulu Mfanawendlela Lokotfwako, who could not believe the ill-fortune that has befallen him. Found on the scene, the tractor owner told this newspaper that the attack was a blow for him because he used the tractor to earn a living.
The disbelief was written all over his face, as he said he was struggling to come to grips with the incident.
He said besides having it subcontracted by giant companies like the Inyatsi Group Holdings, he used the tractor to plough for his community members and transport water containers for people who needed his services.
“The tractor cost me E285 000 and it has been helping me put food on the table for my family. I don’t know how I’ll manage without it,’’ he said in a teary voice.
According to sources, the attack at Hhelehhele happened at around 3am when four men arrived at the Inyatsi depot, where they found four security guards on duty.
The three unidentified men are said to have attacked the guards by severely assaulting them. When asked what the assailants said they were attacking them for, the sources said it was not clearly stated, save for something about not paying adequate salaries.
After the guards were beaten to a pulp, the three men are said to have proceeded towards a parked tractor loader backerhoe, otherwise known as a TLB, and a John Deere tractor, which they doused in petrol before setting them alight. The two machinery were burnt beyond recognition.
Both the tractor and TLB were subcontracted by the Inyatsi Construction Company to be used in constructing the Mbadlane/Lukhula Highway.
Meanwhile, a mechanic who rents a workshop situated along Stanley Street near Trelawney Park in Manzini lost six vehicles which were torched by unknown people.
He said two of these cars belonged to him, while. He four were left there by customers for fixing.
The estimated value of the vehicles is about E124 000. The mechanic, who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, said the security guard who was on duty on Wednesday night called him at around 12:30am on Thursday to say that the cars were on fire.
He added that the number of persons responsible for the attack could not be ascertained for sure, but the guard saw three human figures. Before setting the vehicles on fire, the unknown arsonists are said to have first hit the main gate with a metal as if they expected someone to respond. Again, once they were inside the premises, the arsonists are said to have first knocked on one workshop door, but no one response.
“The guard was at a vantage point where he could see them but they could not see him so he witnessed them burning the cars,” said the workshop owner.
However, after realising that his life was in danger, the guard reportedly fled the scene. The businessman emphasised that he had no vendetta with anyone so he was not sure why the vehicles were burnt. He further stated that the cars were parked in business area where there are several workshops rented by different mechanics.
The Deputy Police Information and Communications Officer Inspector Nosipho Mnguni confirmed both arson attacks. She said the estimated value of the property that was burnt at Hhelehhele is about E2.1million. Mnguni said no arrests were made by the time of compiling this report.