Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Businesses reel as #ZumaUnrest rages

A number of businesses and services have closed their doors as violent unrest spread across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, leaving a number of dead and wounded civilians and looted and burned shops in their wake.

The pro-Jacob Zuma protests began last week in reaction to his being jailed for contempt of court, but quickly degenerated into widespread looting and vandalism, with multiple shopping malls ransacked, vehicles torched and public spaces desecrated.

Initially constrained to townships and the eThekwini central business district, the violence in KwaZulu-Natal has spread across Pietermaritzburg and Durban’s suburban areas.

In response, pharmaceutical chains Dis-Chem and Clicks temporarily shut down all branches across the province on Monday. This includes the closure of Covid-19 drive-through testing and vaccine sites – the latest setback in a vaccine roll-out already beset by delays.

Banks, too, have likewise been disrupted. Absa shut down all branches in the province while Standard Bank urged customers to utilise online banking, reporting that the unrest had prevented employees from coming into work.  

All public transport services in the region were also halted

In Gauteng, the escalating situation in Alexandra and Jeppestown over the weekend forced a number of local shop owners to stop trading for fear of coming under attack. As tensions grew on Monday morning, a number of shopping malls and businesses across the province were forced into similar action. The Neighbourhood Square in Linksfield and Centurion Mall were just two of many compelled to implement “lockdown procedures”.

By early afternoon, the South African Social Security Agency announced it would suspend cash delivery services to pay points until further notice, a move that will hurt beneficiaries of social grants.

During his address to the nation on Sunday night, which largely focused on South Africa’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa took time to condemn the violence, noting the damage the mob outbreaks were having on the economy and people’s livelihoods. 

“Key infrastructure like national roads have been affected, slowing down the transportation of goods and services that keep our economy running,” he said.

“Property has been destroyed. Cars have been stoned. People have been intimidated and threatened, and some have even been hurt. These acts are endangering lives and damaging our efforts to rebuild the economy.”

The South African National Defence Force has since been deployed in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

Vote for an informed choice

We’re dropping the paywall this week so that everyone can access all our stories for free, and get the information they need in the run up to the local government elections. For the latest updates and political analysis, sign up to our daily elections newsletter.

If our coverage helps inform your decision, cast your vote for an informed public and join our subscriber community. Right now, a full year’s access is just R510, half the usual cost. Subscribers get access to all our best journalism, subscriber-only newsletters, events and a weekly cryptic crossword.

Luke Feltham
Luke Feltham is a features writer at the Mail & Guardian

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Latest stories

Eskom to take ‘extraordinary measures’ to avoid load-shedding for elections

Stage four load-shedding rolled out to ensure the polls on Monday 1 November are energy secure

Khaya Koko: John Steenhuisen, please take a knee

The Democratic Alliance leader rebuking cricketer Quinton de Kock would be this election season’s greatest triumph

Paddy Harper: Will the Covid-19 cigarette ban come back to...

Flashbacks of nicotine deprivation and not poor service delivery may see a run on the polls on Monday

Eskom resorts to stage four load-shedding

Stage-four outages will continue until Friday after the loss of two units during the night, and three in total at Medupi, Kusile and Matla power plants tripping
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×