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Looting Rampage Weakens Rand & Harms Economy

In parts of KZN and Gauteng criminals have been storming malls and stealing goods as well as vandalising vehicles and buildings.

There have been reports of drive-by shootings in KZN and even medical workers being shot at while trying to assist people. There have also been incidents of Xenophobic attacks on stores owned and operated by foreigners.

At the same time, there are protests about the jailing of former President, Jacob Zuma who was found in contempt of court recently. The protests about the Constitutional Court ruling and enforcement seem to have been the jump off point for the criminals to strike and begin looting.

At this point it is very difficult to separate the two events as many of the looters may feel they are committing crime in protest (as opposed to greed). Many young people (including young teens) have gotten involved and sadly some have even died in clashes with police.

Disrupting Bussiness

In response to the danger, many businesses have closed their doors temporarily as a precaution for the benefit of their staff members who would otherwise have to travel through troubled areas or be at work in areas that may be targeted by these violent criminals. This includes branches of the major banks, like FNB and Standard Bank, businesses like Vodacom and MTN as well as others who are busy offering Covid-19 vaccines (like Discovery and Clicks locations).

‘The protests … have been the jump off point for the criminals to strike and begin looting’

To avoid danger many consumers are now avoiding the malls and shops even in unaffected areas as a precaution. This is having a negative financial impact on those businesses in other areas which are already under strain due to the level 4 lockdown restrictions.

Parts of the major transport route, the N3 have been shut down due to the incidence of people attacking and damaging (or looting) transport vehicles. This is also impacting on the supply of goods and materials to businesses across the interior of the country and may have an impact on the decision of international shipping concerns who want to avoid disruptions to their supply chain. Businesses that cannot get stock simply cannot sell stock.

Several factories and business properties have been burnt down in destructive arson attacks and hundreds of employees are now facing many months without work during reconstruction or possibly the permanent closure of factories in the area.

Taking Back Control

Government has brought the army in to back up the police who are struggling to control the situation without escalating the matter which could result in more deaths.

’10 people have died and at least 4 policemen hospitalised’

Already it has been reported that 10 people have died and at least 4 policemen hospitalised. There are lots of videos circulating on social media and the mainstream media of the looters and authorities have promised prosecutions will follow. Already over 500 people have been arrested and will face charges.

The Rand Pays the Price Which Hurts Your Pocket

The Rand has which was positively impacted by the arrest of the Former President, predictably, been hard hit by both the subsequent civil unrest and now widespread criminal activity.

The Rand losing value will have a knock-on, negative impact on fuel and transport costs going forward. This is being made worse by the fact that, at the same time, the US Dollar has been doing well this week. What this means is we can anticipate a significant spike in food prices and inflation to follow.

So, when you are paying more for your meals in weeks to come you may take a moment to curse those looters who ran off with a flatscreen TV who gave no thought to how their actions would impact millions of law abiding South Africans.

Some SABC Coverage of The Looters In KZN