Pharmacy, health and beauty retailer Clicks has strongly condemned the vandalism and looting of stores at shopping malls and distribution centres across South Africa.
The group said that as a result of protest action, it has had to close all 110 of its stores in KwaZulu-Natal and 130 stores in Gauteng, with a total of 279 stores closed and 52 stores damaged so far nationwide.
106 vaccination sites have been closed across the country, the group said in a statement, as looting and vandalism continued into Wednesday, predominantly in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
Clicks has 760 stores and over 600 in-store pharmacies nationally.
“The disruption of services means affected Clicks stores will be temporarily unable to administer vaccinations and provide medication to customers, along with public sector medicine pick-up points being temporarily unavailable.
“Contingency plans are being put in place to provide alternative arrangements for delivery of chronic medication and rescheduling of vaccinations, where possible,” it said.
Similarly, Game and Makro holding group Massmart, has been hit hard, with reports that as many as 30 of its stores, along with a distribution centre in KwaZulu-Natal have been vandalised and destroyed amid the ongoing riots.
Retailers Shoprite Holdings and Pick n Pay Stores have also closed outlets in the affected provinces – with images showing empty shelves and ransacked stores emerging over the past several days – which is likely to impact food security.
PICK N PAY MAYFIELD. PUTFONTEIN. COE. GP. pic.twitter.com/jap5LSqLjj
— REZA (@crimeairnetwork) July 13, 2021
The unrest began with protests against the arrest and incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma, but has since degenerated into looting and destruction.
Bloomberg reported that rioters have appropriated food, electronic goods and medical supplies from at least 800 stores, and retailers have lost an estimated R5 billion ($340 million) to date, citing the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, an unprecedented amount.
Clicks said that the cost of the looting and damages to stores is still to be determined given the ongoing unrest.
Defence and Military Veterans minister, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said that the president will only declare a State of Emergency when the need arises.
While the minister strongly condemned the current looting and damage to infrastructure, she did not believe the situation warrants a State of Emergency.
“For now, I don’t think there is an indication that there should be a State of Emergency,” she said on Tuesday.