Franchise Association joins calls for government to protect economy
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THE Franchise Association of South Africa (Fasa) has announced that OBC Group has lost 10 stores in Gauteng and KwaZulu Natal to the riots in those provinces.
According to the association, 500 supermarkets have been looted nationally.
The association said it wanted to add its voice to calls by Business Unity South Africa and other business associations for the government to take action urgently.
Fasa’s chairperson, Pertunia Sibanyoni, said: “We are disappointed at the inadequacy of the response from the authorities in protecting businesses and assets, and urgently call for the government to act with urgency to prevent further anarchy and the collapse of the economy.”
Former Fasa chairperson and OBC Group chief executive Tony da Fonseca said there were rumours that if the looting was not stopped, it would spread to other parts of the country.
“Food security is going to be an issue in the coming weeks as retailers are forced to close, which will impact all communities across the country. The destruction, not only to retailers and property, but to the very infrastructure and basic services, such as supplies to hospitals and water security, in the coming days is cause for alarm,” he said.
According to Maria D’Amico, Fasa’s chairperson-elect, the franchise sector was focused on putting entrepreneurs into business and, by extension, employing half-a-million people.
“The current situation will have a detrimental impact on not only the economy, but more devastating are the wider ramifications, which includes the staff of these stores and their families. The pandemic has already put people’s lives in danger with widespread suffering and death, and it has been the business sector that has held the economy together through their efforts to remain viable, keep their doors open, and employ as many people as possible.”
Fasa’s newly elected chief executive, Freddy Makgato, said the association was saddened by the destruction of private property and businesses and the harm to people.
“We call on the government to make sure that proper security is provided in ensuring that private property, infrastructure, and the safety of our people is guaranteed. Should this state of affairs be allowed to continue, most and major businesses may not be able to recover, and people will in all likelihood lose their jobs, and the economy will come to a standstill as it is already in dire straits,” he said.
Meanwhile, Agri SA has appealed to the presidency to declare a national state of emergency to bring an end to the wave of criminality that has taken root in the country.
“The looting of shops, stoning of cars, blocking of roads, burning of trucks and crops, as well as theft of livestock, are posing a serious threat to food security in the country,” said Christo van der Rheede, executive director of Agri SA.
“South Africa runs the risk of people not being able to buy or access food. This will lead to hunger and starvation on a national scale, which, in turn, will fuel even more social unrest and mayhem.”
It was clear that criminals had no regard for law and order, and they would loot, destroy and steal non-stop until there was nothing left, said Van der Rheede. “Furthermore, South Africa is a constitutional state, and our Constitution places a constitutional obligation on the state to protect its citizens against such criminality.”
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