SOUTH AFRICA - Durban - 13 July 2021 - SAPS members monitor Queen Nandi drive in the vicinity of Briardene,Riverhorse Valley after a score of people whom supports the former South African President Jacob Zuma looted the Game Warehouse in Durban, KZN. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)
SOUTH AFRICA - Durban - 13 July 2021 - SAPS members monitor Queen Nandi drive in the vicinity of Briardene,Riverhorse Valley after a score of people whom supports the former South African President Jacob Zuma looted the Game Warehouse in Durban, KZN. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng/African News Agency (ANA)

Billions of rand lost due to violent protests in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal - Experts

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published Jul 13, 2021

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FINANCIAL losses due to the violent protests and massive destruction of property in the country could add up to billions of rand or more.

This is the view of economists and business experts after the country was engulfed by widespread protests under the guise of the free Jacob Zuma campaign.

The protests turned ugly when the angry mobs attacked shopping malls, factories and big businesses in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. The violence and looting of malls continued on Tuesday.

One of the economists, Mike Schussler, says the ongoing violence will severely affect businesses and consumer confidence in South Africa.

“This means that people will not see the need to buy cars and houses and businesses will not see the need to operate due to the violence,” Schussler said.

He further said: “The violence has caused far more damage. Imagine there are 200 shopping malls (affected) in the country. More than 6 000 trucks use the N3 and more than 250 trucks use the N2. The blockade of roads will have a severe impact on the distribution industry.”

He said KwaZulu-Natal relies on inland provinces for the supply of maize while inland provinces depend on it for the importation of goods.

Schussler was adamant that the damage was likely to be huge, saying it was for that reason that the stock market took a dive.

George Sebulela of the SA United Business Confederation (SAUBC) echoed Schussler’s sentiments, saying members of the SAUBC had been hit by the rampant attacks, especially in Soweto and Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal.

Sebulela said members in the road freight industry and franchises in malls such as Maponya Mall had been affected by the looting and their property damaged.

“These are small businesses,” he said.

Like others, Sebulela said it was premature to determine the extent of the losses at this stage, as some businesses were still being attacked, but he said at present the losses could amount to more than a billion rand.

Cas Coovadia of Business Unity SA (BUSA) agrees with his fellow industry players, saying: “The anarchy has caused significant economic damage and cost and the ongoing violence and destruction of property continues to cause severe losses to the economy. The resultant loss of jobs because of businesses not having the confidence to continue operating will exacerbate an already high unemployment rate.

“These events are being reported on globally, resulting in significant loss of confidence in our country as an investment destination, at a time we are competing with more positive destinations in different parts of the world.”

Coovadia said the economic damage caused by the anarchic actions of a small group of people would be long-lasting and would be felt broadly, particularly among those who were already under severe stress.

He said the impact on society was also severe.

Coovadia said BUSA urges all sectors of society, including labour, community groups, faith-based organisations and others to express their serious concern and anger at the small group holding our country to ransom.

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