Eswatini Daily News
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Mixed day for businesses as some operate and others don’t

Bread shelves are empty as bakeries could not make their deliveries due to the protests.

By Ntombi Mhlongo and Bahle Gama

It has been a mixed day for various businesses in Eswatini as the protests in town have significantly affected operations.

Fearing for the lives of their staff and the financial losses that could be incurred, some businesses opted not to open their doors while others took the risk.

Residents in different areas woke up to empty bread shelves in the stores that were open. Several supermarkets in areas including Corporation and Msunduza in Mbabane were turning back customers who had come to buy bread, an essential staple in most houses.

A shop assistant at one of the supermarkets said bakeries usually deliver the bread in the morning but they had made it known that they would not do so.

“Yesterday (Monday) they informed us that they won’t deliver unless the situation is normal. For now, we are hopeful that the situation will be calm and the delivery will be made,” the shop assistant said.

The shelves where both brown and white bread is placed were empty while in other supermarkets there were only buns and cream doughnuts on display.

A customer walks into a pharmacy

It was business as usual at Sidvwashini as some stores were operating unfazed. A store manager who was on duty said they opened their shop because they felt the risk was higher in the CBD than in the area.

Despite operating, the store workers were concerned about their safety and those of shoppers.

“We cannot say we are safe, but we are a bit further from all the havoc that would likely erupt in town. We cannot stop working and making money because of threats made by people who do not have the slightest idea what running a business entail,” said the manager.

However, some shop assistants were reluctant in that some of their colleagues were reportedly not at work due to the unavailability of public transport.

“We have seen how this has turned out in the past and the effects it has had on lives and businesses. I feel we shouldn’t have been allowed to come to work today, and some of us did so because we stay nearby and it’s a walking distance. Otherwise, we are short-staffed, so hopefully, we will close earlier at the very least,” said a shop assistant.

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