Hammer-wielding protesters break glass doors, set fire and trash Clicks store in Alberton
Johannesburg – Another Clicks store has been trashed and set on fire at the Lemon Tree Shopping Centre in Alberton.
This comes after the 1am arson attempt at a Clicks store in Witbank on the early hours of Monday morning.
Eric Maloka, the spokesperson for the City of Ekurhuleni’s disaster and emergency services, said the store came under attack just after 9am on Monday morning.
Maloka said the emergency services were dispatched to the shopping centre. Members of the mall’s security team led them to the Clicks store where they found 15 protesters armed with hammers.
“The security team took the emergency services straight to the Clicks store and there was a fire there.
“There were 15 protesters armed with hammers,” said Maloka.
Maloka said the store had been closed as soon as protesters assembled. He said the protesters used hammers to break the door open. Once inside they vandalised the store.
“They started a fire inside the store and the sprinklers were activated because of the smoke. “The fire was put out and the 12 staff members who were at the store suffered no injuries,” he said.
Meanwhile, Maloka said the shopping centre had been closed for the rest of the day as a precaution.
Calls made to the centre management went unanswered.
“The scene has been handed over to SAPS,” said Maloka.
Meanwhile, an urgent court interdict by the pharmaceutical chain to prevent the EFF from demonstrating was dismissed earlier on Monday.
In Witbank, police are investigating a case of malicious damage to property after a group of suspects attempted to petrol-bomb a Clicks store in Witbank early on Monday.
The arson attempt on the Saveways Clicks store in Witbank came just as the pharmaceutical chain prepared to face off with the EFF, who have called on Clicks to shut down for a week after they published an offensive advert which depicted black women’s hair as “damaged”.
Mpumalanga police spokesperson Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the store would remain closed until police had concluded their work.
“According to information received, at about 1am, the Clicks store in Saveways, Witbank, there was an arson attack at the store. It did not burn, but some glass doors were cracked,” he said.
Hlathi said police were investigating a case of malicious damage to property. He said police suspect that the attackers arrived in two cars and attempted to petrol-bomb the store unsuccessfully.
EFF leader Julius Malema defended the party’s decision to demonstrate at Clicks stores on Monday. He was speaking from a Clicks store in Seshego, Limpopo.
He said the workers’ jobs were not under threat because of the EFF’s demonstration; they would be paid because they had showed up for work.
Malema also hit back at those who were criticising the party.
“We don’t owe them anything. We choose our battles.
“They don’t vote for us, why must we worry about them,” said Malema.
The EFF is calling for Clicks to shut down for the rest of the week, but the store management has insisted they will remain open.
Meanwhile, TRESemmé South Africa and Unilever have apologised for the advert which was the source of the furore. Their advert was published on the Clicks website.
In a statement on the Unilever website, TRESemmé South Africa said: “We are very sorry that images used in a TRESemmé South Africa marketing campaign on the Clicks website promote racist stereotypes about hair.
“The campaign set out to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions that TRESemmé offers, but we got it wrong.
“The images are not in line with the values of our brand, or of Clicks.
“TRESemmé South Africa apologises for the offence these images have caused. We also apologise to the Clicks group.
“We are looking into how this happened and why it wasn’t picked up, and we will take all necessary steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” the group said.