Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Riots, looting cost the KwaZulu-Natal economy R20 billion

The wave of looting and arson attacks last week cost the KwaZulu-Natal economy alone more than R20-billion and has placed more than 150 000 jobs in the province at risk.

Around 40 000 formal businesses in the province were affected in the week of violence, which also negatively impacted more than 50 000 informal traders, the vast majority of whom were not insured.

The latest assessment of the extent of the damage caused in what the government has now characterised as an attempted insurrection, was allegedly carried out by supporters of former president Jacob Zuma, who is serving a 15-month sentence for contempt at the Estcourt Correctional Centre.

In a briefing on Tuesday, acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said assessments of the cost of the damage in Gauteng were still being carried out by the South African Special Risk Insurance Association.

In KwaZulu-Natal, both the Durban and Richards Bay harbours were now fully operational, as were the rail and road links between Durban and the rest of the country.

Ntshavheni said the country was “well on the trajectory to stability” with no incidents of looting and violence reported in either KwaZulu-Natal or Gauteng over the past 24 hours.

The South African National Defence Force deployment in support of the police would, she said, continue until “we all feel that we are safe in our homes” in order to discourage any further attempts at violence and looting.

Ntshavheni said three alleged instigators were being held pending bail hearings. Among them is former Ukhozi FM presenter Ngizwe Mchunu, who will appear in court in Randburg on Wednesday, after being arrested in Durban on Monday.

She said that while the initial number of alleged instigators stood at 12, this may change as investigations continued.

“Whether there were 12, or 24 or 100 they will be arrested. They will get the concomitant legal penalty that they must face for bringing this country into the kind of danger that they have,” Ntshavheni said.

Around 200 people had appeared in Gauteng courts for public violence and theft, with the stolen items that had been recovered being held by police for use as evidence, she added.

Economic cluster ministers were busy putting together details of a relief package which could be used to help businesses — particularly those with no insurance — get back on their feet.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Paddy Harper
Paddy Harper

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

DA’s egregious sexual harassment case finally begins

The party is accused of protecting a councillor, who’s also implicated in R1.2m graft

The ANC, DA and EFF ‘oblivious’ to climate crisis —...

The Climate Justice Charter Movement has critiqued the manifestos of the main parties contesting the local government elections and found them ‘shallow’

More top stories

Bird flu outbreak on Dyer Island causing mass deaths

The island hosts the vulnerable African penguins, endangered bank cormorant and roseate tern

Countries bear cross-border responsibility for harmful effects of climate change,...

The UN committee has been accused of ‘turning its back’ on the children who filed a groundbreaking legal complaint with it against five countries

Magashule files notice to have corruption charges dropped

Counsel for the suspended ANC secretary general tells court the former Free State premier falls outside category of who can be charged for corrupt activities

R1.5-billion in funding approved for riot-hit businesses

Agencies emphasise that speed is crucial to rescuing firms affected by July’s unrest

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…