PICS: 445 Clicks stores closed as EFF vows to continue protests
Durban - More than 400 Clicks stores were closed on Monday after violent protests broke out at malls across the country.
According to a Clicks spokesperson, protest action was reported at at least 452 stores.
"Clicks strongly condemns violence of any kind, intimidation of staff and its customers and the vandalism of its stores. All incidents of criminal behaviour are being reported to the authorities. Clicks is working with SAPS to ensure the safety of staff, customers and members of the public," the spokesperson said.
"Clicks is unable to estimate the total damage to stores given the ongoing protest action. Clicks provides a much-needed healthcare service to South Africans and will continue to trade. Clicks has taken full accountability and apologised unreservedly for the advertisement published on its website and is committed to effecting real change across the business. Clicks continues to monitor the situation," the spokesperson added.
The health and beauty retailer triggered the ire of South Africans over images on their website, which most viewed as showing prejudice against natural black hair.
Clicks then issued a public apology after the images sparked outrage on social media.
“We would like to issue an unequivocal apology. We have removed the images which go against everything we believe in. We do not condone racism and we are strong advocates of natural hair. We are deeply sorry and will put in place stricter measures on our website,” reads the apology on Clicks’ Twitter thread.
Vikesh Ramsunder, Clicks Group CEO, issued an open letter calling for engagement from consumers on the matter.
“The emotive responses of our customers have been mirrored by our employees and management teams. And, whilst the images and content were provided to us by our supplier TRESemmé , this does not absolve us from blame. This is why we took accountability for this error of judgement by issuing a public apology and swiftly removing the offensive material from our website,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry has strongly condemned the vandalisation of property and acts of intimidation.
"Property has been damaged, staff lives have been put at risk and, no doubt, financial losses have been incurred as a result of the violence. Most importantly, patients who depend on Clicks to fill their medication prescriptions have also been compromised at the affected sites," said Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO, Palesa Phili.
She said the knock-on effect of such actions were not only negative for the company but for the South African economy as a whole.