Business in KwaZulu-Natal has condemned Saturday's gunning down of a patron at a plush Durban sidewalk restaurant and café.
Six armed robbers entered the packed premises of St Tropez restaurant on Essenwood Road and robbed patrons of cellphones, jewellery and cash. Thirty-year-old Marc Joubert was shot in the neck after tackling one of the robbers. He died in hospital. Police believe the robbery was the work of a syndicate as other restaurants in the area have also been targeted in a similar fashion in recent weeks.
The chief executive of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Bonke Dumisa said the incident would affect business and called on police and the government to act timeously to prevent further killings of innocent people.
"We cannot allow a situation where people go to restaurants and are not sure about their safety. We call on the police to act quickly and apprehend those responsible.
"We also appeal to people in our communities to expose such criminals. They have struck Essenwood Road and soon it will be Florida Road (Durban's prime restaurant area). It must stop as one life lost is one too many", said Dumisa.
Restaurant owners are taking the attack in their stride and are working with local security companies to set the minds of patrons at ease. Yesterday - after a 24 hour break - it was business as usual at St Tropez. Wellwishers and regulars sent flowers in tribute to the victim.
"As owners we are not letting this get us down. We are taking it in our stride and we will come out stronger. We have strong security to take care of our patrons," a St Tropez spokesman said.
Police have stepped up patrols in the area. Spokesman Phindile Hadebe said: "We now have patrols in the vicinity. Detectives from our organised crime unit are following leads that link this to a syndicate operating in the area. No arrests have been made."