Looting and destruction in KZN left dent of R20bn in eThekwini’s GDP so far, says Sihle Zikalala
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Durban - The widespread looting and destruction of properties in KwaZulu-Natal have left a massive dent in the eThekwini gross domestic product (GDP) so far amounting to about R20 billion.
While officials were still taking full stock of the damage caused, Premier Sihle Zikalala said they were preparing for the possibility of having to call for the declaration of a state of disaster in the province.
In the government’s latest assessments, eThekwini metro and Msunduzi municipalities remain the hardest hit.
Zikalala said they were expecting the figures to be much higher once the assessment was complete.
He reported that so far they have calculated:
* More than R1.5 billion worth of stock lost
* More than R15bn worth of damage to property and equipment
* Over 50 000 informal traders affected
* Over 40 000 businesses affected
* More than 150 000 jobs now at risk
In a briefing held on Saturday, Zikalala said Pietermaritzburg, Nongoma, Eshowe, Boston and Umzimkhulu were also hard hit by the wave of looting and the destruction of property.
“We are very mindful of the impact of the unrest on our rural towns. Other small towns affected by the unrest include Richmond, Greytown, Umzinto and many others,” he said.
He reported that so far, the key centres of the economy which were negatively impacted were as follows:
* Malls and Shopping Centres - 89
* Hospitals - 1
* Warehouses - 45
* Factories - 22
* Banks - 8
* ATMs - 88
* Liquor outlets - 89
* Liquor distributors - 8
* Delivery trucks burnt - 37
* Schools - 139
The premier noted that apart from the physical destruction of property, the shutdown of economic activity badly affected the overall economic output.
Conservative estimates indicated that for every hour that the N3 highway between KZN and Gauteng was closed, millions of rand were lost to the economy.
“The social cost has also been very high. Apart from placing thousands of jobs at risk, the unrest has also threatened social cohesion and food security in the province,” he said.
A survey by the KZN Agricultural Union (Kwanalu) estimated that the unrest demolished 55% of economic activities in rural towns.
The survey showed that 64% of rural towns were already experiencing severe food shortages; with 32% facing moderate food shortages; and only 4% reported a relatively secure food supply.