By Penelope Mashego for News24
Telematics company Netstar says in just five days three of its biggest clients lost out on more than 613 000km in delivery trips in due to the recent looting and unrest in the country.
On Wednesday, the company said the lost kilometres are equal to 15 trips around the globe. Between 10 and 16 July, the three clients suffered delays and cancellations of nearly 30 000 delivery trips.
The Altron subsidiary added that the three clients were most affected in KwaZulu-Natal, where 78% of their vehicles were brought to a halt. In Gauteng, the telematics company says the clients were “severely” impacted in the beginning of the unrest, but they have since been able to recover, losing only 15% of their delivery trips.
READ | Riots hit 40 000 businesses, as Ramaphosa admits govt didn’t react fast enough
South Africa has begun its recovery after the spate of unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng that resulted in supply chain disruption, stores and factory product losses and shutdowns, as well as national food security concerns.
Some companies have resorted to using private security escorts to move goods around the country and government has deployed 25 000 SA Defence Force personnel to assist in hotspot areas.
Netstar is closely monitoring the developments, said its managing director, Pierre Bruwer.
“Our ground teams and helicopters have been supporting our clients and the law enforcement agencies throughout the crisis. The trucking industry is the lifeblood of our economy as they play a critical role in getting goods to market and keeping the wheels of trade turning. We are hopeful that the situation will return to normal and that drivers can return to work safely,” he said.
Durban has borne the brunt of the ongoing unrest, with 45 000 businesses out of commission and an estimated R16-billion in stolen stock, and damage to infrastructure and equipment. This is according to News24.
The damage so far has been tallied as follows:
- The unrest had cost the metro R1-billion in terms of loss of stock
- R15-billion worth of damage to property and equipment
- 5 000 informal traders had been severely affected by the criminality
- 40 000 formal businesses, large and small, have been affected also affected, including small business
- 129 000 jobs are at risk, following the destruction of malls, factories and other businesses
Chaos and looting have prevailed since former president Jacob Zuma’s arrest last week.
Racial tension that has arisen as residents take it upon themselves to protect not only their shopping centres but their own neighbourhoods from looters and vandals.
The SANDF has been deployed to help overrun police in the area.
Looters attacked Mustek’s offices in the North of Durban on Monday, stealing everything of value and leaving the facility wrecked.
On Tuesday evening a video posted online showed that the building had been set ablaze.
Mustek managing director Hein Engelbrecht confirmed that the building in the video was indeed their Durban office, which the company rented.
With this attack and the subsequent arson, criminals have destroyed a key information technology and computer hardware provider in the eThekwini area.
Mustek’s Durban offices handled orders from technology retailers in the area, dispatched goods to clients, and offered after-sales support services. Stock of some items was held on the premises.
Speaking to MyBroadband earlier today, Engelbrecht said that they had thankfully told the few operational staff still working from the offices to stay home on Monday.
“We just had a feeling … we saw the reports of unrest and some of our staff said that they were struggling to get out of their neighbourhoods. So we told everyone to stay home on Monday,” said Engelbrecht.
With South Africa’s adjusted Alert Level 4 lockdown in place, all the sales staff that usually work from Mustek’s Durban facility were already working from home.
Only some operational staff who work on dispatch and after-sales support were still working from the office.
Engelbrecht said that when the looters first attacked, their security personnel tried to hold them out but were overrun.
One security guard was hospitalised.
The police soon arrived on the scene and dispersed the mob. While the situation was calm the police were called away to quell unrest in a different location.
Engelbrecht said the police had not been gone for ten minutes before the looters returned in full force and stripped the office bare.
Looters also tore through the property, ripping screens off of walls and damaging company delivery vehicles.
Some vandals then returned on Tuesday and set the building alight.
Engelbrecht could not provide an estimate of the cost of the damage.
“We are busy assessing the damage — I don’t want to guess right now,” he said.
The loss of their Durban offices will cause some service disruption for clients in KwaZulu-Natal, but Engelbrecht said it does not impact their national operations.
He said that as soon as the highway between Johannesburg and Durban re-opens, Mustek can restructure to serve KwaZulu-Natal clients from Gauteng — though he added that this will cost a bit more.
The victims of looting and civil unrest in parts of South Africa will be looking to Sasria (the SA Special Risks Insurance Association) – the state-owned entity that provides cover for loss or damage to insured property as a direct result of civil unrest, including rioting, strike action and public disorder – for payouts.
Saria is the only insurer in South Africa to provide this service. It does not conduct business with the public, but is included in most commercial and consumer insurance policies.
Sasria cover is bought through insurance companies which administer the cover. When a loss is the result of some form of civil unrest, insurance companies act as intermediaries and hand over the claim to Sasria.
But some people are questioning the state-owned entity’s ability to settle the claims.
Businesses and homeowners who have Sasria cover will have their legitimate claims met, and in the case of smaller claims, they will be paid out within a week. This is according to a report by The Sowetan.
Asked if Sasria will pay out claims from businesses and consumers relating to looting at this time, MD Cedric Masondo told TimesLIVE that while criminality may be at play in many cases, “the trigger was what we call civil commotion” — so the claims will be honoured.
“Our clients won’t have to go to great lengths to prove that there was a link between their loss and a civil commotion,” Masondo said.
By Nokukhanya N Mntambo for Jacaranda FM
Some major retail outlets across the country have rushed to close their doors out of fear of being hit by looters.
Several Makro stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng have been gutted by fire after their shelves were emptied.
The brazen attacks come amid rising tensions in both provinces with some communities coming out in their numbers to rob businesses in broad daylight.
Makro says it has closed its doors until further notice.
Health and beauty retailers Clicks says it will also close some of its stores indefinitely.
“Due to unrest in KZN and Gauteng, some stores will be closed until further notice for the safety of our staff and customers.”
See affected Clicks stores here.
Image credit: ANA
Source: A News
Image credit: AP
South African police on Monday arrested dozens of people following looting in Johannesburg and protests in the transport industry linked to a wave of anti-foreigner sentiment. At least 41 people were arrested after hundreds of people marched through Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD), plundering shops and torching cars and buildings, the police said in a statement.
Looting and violence spread across several neighborhoods in South Africa’s major cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg on Monday, after a spate of overnight attacks that appeared to target foreign-owned shops.
At least 50 shops were looted and burned early Monday in the southern Johannesburg suburbs of Malvern and Jeppestown. Police fired rubber bullets at looters as burnt cars were stranded in the roads as violence grew.
Officials dismissed reports that the ongoing attacks were xenophobic and that foreign-owned shops were targeted in the violence, insisting they were opportunistic crimes.
“Xenophobia is just an excuse that is being used by people to commit criminal acts,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told the media on Monday afternoon. “It is not xenophobia, but pure criminality.”
Cele said the government’s first priority was to deploy more police officers to the affected areas.
Police arrested 41 people for the violence in Johannesburg, while 8 others were arrested in Tembisa township, east of Johannesburg, and one person arrested in the capitol Pretoria, police said.
On Monday, a pamphlet circulating on social media, seen by The Associated Press, encouraged South Africans to chase foreigners out of their communities.
The pamphlet, attributed to a group called the Sisonke People’s Forum, accused foreigners living in South Africa of selling drugs and stealing jobs, both common refrains during the regular flare-ups of violence against foreigners in the greater Johannesburg area in recent years.
Monday’s violence follows similar incidents in Pretoria last week, in which protest led by taxi drivers saw several foreign-owned shops looted and torched.
By Alexander Winning and Macdonald Dzirutwe for IOL
South Africa turned down a request from its southern African neighbour Zimbabwe for a $1.2 billion (about R16.6 billion) loan in December, a spokesman for the finance ministry said on Monday.
“South Africa doesn’t have that kind of money,” National Treasury spokesman Jabulani Sikhakhane said.
Zimbabwean officials were not immediately available for comment.
Zimbabwe was hit by deadly anti-government protests last week after a hike in fuel prices stoked anger over an economic crisis.
Police say three people died during demonstrations that turned violent in the capital Harare and second city Bulawayo. But human rights groups say evidence suggests at least a dozen were killed.
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Sunday that he would return home from a European tour and skip the World Economic Forum in Davos to address the crisis.