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Acting Minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, says an estimated 150 000 jobs are at risk in the aftermath of the looting and destruction to property that swept through KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
In a briefing on efforts to recover and rebuild, Ntshavheni said Ministers in the economic cluster are consolidating proposals for a government package of interventions, including small businesses which are mainly uninsured.
Ntshavheni said data and estimates provided by the SA Property Owners’ Association (SAPOA) showed that in KZN alone, 161 malls, 11 warehouses and eight factories were affected, with 161 liquor outlets and distributors being extensively damaged.
Adding to this, the Minister said estimates place KwaZulu-Natal’s loss in the Billons. Work is, however, still underway to assess the total cost of the damage to property. Furthermore, 1 400 ATMs have been damaged and 300 banks and Post Office outlets vandalised. Ninety pharmacies were destroyed. She further highlighted, “50 000 informal traders were affected, 40 000 businesses were affected and [it is] currently estimated that the [impact to the KZN GDP] is R20 billion.”
Ntshavheni warned the impact of this would be felt both in KZN and across the rest of the country. She added that SAPOA would later in the week collate data on the cost of damage in Gauteng.
After a challenging two weeks, Ntshavheni pointed out the country has turned the tide and is well on a trajectory of stability, rebuilding the economy and ensuring social cohesion.
The government’s stabilisation efforts include the South African Police Service (SAPS) maintaining high visibility in areas with the potential for a resurgence in violence and looting. Adding to this, Ntshavheni affirmed members of the South African Defence Force (SANDF) are successfully working together with the police to conduct roadblocks, vehicle control points, foot and vehicle patrols, cordoning and searching vehicles, plus clearing roads previously blocked and recovering stolen goods.
Moreover, large retail chain stores have reported that the supply of food to SA stores and neighbouring States affected by disruptions in the KZN supply chains are largely back on track. Concluding, Ntshavheni declared most shopping malls closed due to violence and looting in Soweto, including the iconic Maponya Mall, have reopened their doors for the community.
With hundreds of thousands of jobs now on the line, and billions worth of Rands of damages, what are your thoughts? Share your views in the comment section below.