While the government tries to figure out what’s what, whether last week’s havoc in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng was indeed caused by an insurrection that spilled over into looting and lawlessness, the private sector is slowly picking up the pieces and counting the cost.
As for the latter, calculating the damage, here are some figures of commercial outlets that were either plundered and or destroyed:
- 90 pharmacies
- 1 400 ATMs
- 300 banks and Post Offices
- A medicine factory belonging to Cipla, one of the country’s biggest producers of generic medicine.
- 12 Mr Price stores
- 99 Famous Brands (Wimpy and Steers) fast-food outlets
- 32 Cashbuild stores
- 190 clothing shops of the Foschini Group
- 489 Pepkor stores, mainly Ackermans and Pep
- 22 Massmart outlets
This is just from what’s known though.
In other information, courtesy of Netwerk24, it is reported that altogether 2 653 commercial outlets were set alight during last week’s war-like scenes of pillage and private property destruction.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet is at variance with itself over what sparked the unrest.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said it was well orchestrated, an attempt to violently destabilise South Africa’s democracy.
This view has since been reiterated by Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, acting minister in the presidency.
For her to repeat what the president had already said in an address to the nation would probably not have been necessary if the Minister of Defence and Military Veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, had not contradicted Ramaphosa in front of the Joint Standing Committee on Defence when she said the following: "The issue is, if it is an insurrection, then the insurrection must have a face. If it is an insurrection against government. If it is about a coup, the coup will also have a face... but none of those so far talk to that."
Since then the committee has called for “coherence in characterising what led to the violence, wanton looting and destruction of property over the past week.”
At least one thing is clear: when a governing party is so at war with itself that it seems to be quibbling over a conflagration that engulfed a large part of the country, we should ask ourselves whether we’re being led by the right people.