WHENEVER there is a protest angry residents burn buses and destroy street signs and boards.
However, when everything calms down it’s the nyaope smokers who benefit most.
They know they are going to make enough money to support their daily fixes.
They strip the burned buses and street signs and take the metal to scrapyards.
One of the nyaope addicts, Clement Masango (22), said they also make good money from looted groceries.
“We know there will be an opportunity to make good money from diesel found in the bus tanks. We know diesel tanks from the buses are made of aluminIum and they never burst or get damaged when the bus is burned.
“We sell the diesel to truck drivers in the area.
“We make enough money to buy nyaope to last us for a few days. This is the only time we know that we will not be arrested by police for stealing.
“No one can identify us for stealing because we are among the crowd when the looting takes place.”
Shopkeeper Waheed Ahmed (33) said they lose their stock and fear for their lives during the protests.
“Our stores are always targeted even when we have nothing to do with the protests.
“My shop has been looted twice this year during service delivery protests. The criminals use the opportunity to steal from us.
“Most of the people who loot our stores are teenage nyaope addicts. They threaten us if we try to fight back. We have no choice but to run away to save our lives.”
Waheed said it takes months to rebuild their stores and get proper stock back on the shelves.
“They break the windows, doors and steal groceries and sometimes even take our money.
“We have nothing to do with politics or the lack of service delivery but we are always punished. We are forced to live in fear and be on the lookout for criminals,” he said.