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Commercial property owners face loss of over R10bn as violence, looting continues in KZN and Gauteng

Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Picture: Oupa Mokoena/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 14, 2021

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Shopping malls and retail outlets in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have easily suffered more than R10 billion worth of damage over the past few days thanks to the looting and destruction caused by rioters, says Neil Gopal, chief executive of the South African Property Owners Association (Sapoa).

Damages range from “excessive” to “total collapse”, and some property owners may not even be able to rebuild once the crisis is over.

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“Rebuilding may take two years depending on the extent and size of the centre. Some landlords may however decide to not rebuild as the risk is too high for future incidents.”

While Sapoa has not yet managed to carry out a financial assessment, Gopal estimates that the damage is “well beyond R10 billion”. And the further tragedy is that owners have no measures left with which to protect their properties.

“That is why we are appealing to the president to deploy as many soldiers as he can.”

Meanwhile, the eThekwini Economic Development and Planning Committee (ECOD) says the looting and rioting have resulted in a GDP loss of more than R20 billion.

This includes more than R1.5 billion loss of stock and R15 million worth of damage to property and equipment. In addition, the crisis has negatively impacted more than 50 000 informal traders and more than 40 000 businesses – many of which may never come back.

The ECOD also notes that more than 150 000 jobs are at risk and that almost 1.5 million people in the city are at home with no income due to the unrest.

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