Watch: EFF moves to shut down Clicks stores across South Africa

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) on Monday (7 August), moved to close pharmaceutical retailer, Clicks stores across the country as part of a campaign against racially insensitive advert shown on the retailer’s website.

The advert included pictures of four women – two black and two white – and described the hair of the two black women as ‘dry and damaged; and ‘frizzy and dull’, while the images depicting the white women’s hair were described as ‘fine and flat hair’ and ‘normal hair’.

The EFF said that the advert undermined the dignity of black South Africans and suggested that the ‘hair of black people is damaged and inferior to that of white people’.

Clicks, apologised for the campaign, calling it a mistake. As of April 2020, group data showed that Clicks has 881 total retail stores across the country, employing 15,347 people.

“We have made a mistake and sincerely apologise for letting you down. We recognise we have a role to play in creating a more diverse and inclusive S.A, starting with our website content. We know we need to do better, and commit to ensuring our content better reflects this value,” it said.

And in a statement on Sunday evening, Clicks said that it planned to trade as normal on Monday despite the EFF’s attempt to close stores.

“Clicks provides a much-needed healthcare service to South Africans and stores will not be closed. Contingency plans have been put in place to ensure the safety of both customers and staff.

“Clicks has taken full accountability and apologised unreservedly for the advertisement published on its website and has taken immediate action to address all concerns.”

Pictures posted by the EFF’s official social media accounts show members protesting inside and outside of Clicks stores across the country.

A number of pictures posted to social media also show that some Clicks stores have closed preemptively with security and mall personnel standing guard outside of stores.

Unconfirmed reports also indicate that the damage and violence may have escalated at some stores.

The EFF said on Monday, that it had received legal correspondence from attorneys representing Clicks in which the retailer further acknowledged the unintended harm caused by the advert.

Clicks warned that the incitement of violence and potential of harm to staff ‘cannot be taken lightly ‘ and instructed the EFF to retract the call to close Clicks stores.

In response, the EFF said that it would not back down and informed the attorneys that ‘its racist clients Clicks can go to the nearest hell’.

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Watch: EFF moves to shut down Clicks stores across South Africa