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SA Unrest: R50 billion impact on national GDP.

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Following a week of civil unrest, riots, violence and looting, more than 215 people have lost their lives. More than 2 000 people who went on a looting spree in both Kwazulu-Natal (KZN) and Gauteng have been arrested for alleged possession of stolen property.

The damage is estimated to exceed millions taking into consideration that 161 malls and shopping centers were vandalized and set alight. 161 liquor outlets and 8 factories were damaged along with 11 warehouses in KZN. The damage in Gauteng is yet to be determined.

Based on the information provided by The Banking Association of South Africa also known as BASA, a total of 1 400 ATMS, three hundred bank branches and post offices were also vandalized. Approximately 3 000 stores were looted with stock lost amounting to R1,5 billion. The Ethekwini Municipality region is expected to lose over R20 billion of its gross domestic product (GDP).

According to a report by the acting city manager Musa Mbhele, Ethekwini was the epicenter of the riots that later spread to Gauteng resulting in many losing their lives. The violence was enticed by the arrest of Former Head of State Jacob Zuma on 7 July for contempt of court. Many felt he was an innocent man whom like many citizens was unfairly prosecuted without trail.

Following his arrest several toll gates were blocked including the N3 which is the primary gateway for movement of produce and products into and out of the province. This resulted in severe food shortages in rural towns. An economist said that the effects of the closure of these various distribution centers will severely set back the agricultural economy of KZN.

Several days after the protests, acting minister in the Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni during a media briefing, stated she had noticed an estimate of 150 000 jobs are on the line. This comes after over 40 000 businesses alongside 50 000 informal traders were affected, “It is currently estimated that the impact to the KZN GDP is R20 billion,” Ntshavheni said in a media briefing.

Large retail chain stores have reported that the supply of food to South African stores and neighboring states affected by disruptions in the KZN supply chains are largely back on track. “The Economic Cluster Ministers are consolidating proposals for a government package of interventions, including for small businesses that are mostly uninsured.” said Ntshavheni in a statement.

The City of Ethekwini said that it was now undertaking measures to assist affected businesses by allowing property owners to apply for a supplementary valuation of assets, it also plans to utilize Section 14 of the rates policy to implement a special rates rebate based on recent events being a disaster.

The Municipality has forecasted that the loss of rates income due to damages would amount to 300 million. The Minister further acknowledged that more than 9 000 trucks were mobile on the N3 without incident on Tuesday, she also mentioned that ports at Durban have begun operating as normal although there are backlogs at those ports due to the unrest.

Ntshavheni gave assurance that the government has engaged farmers in terms of stabilizing the food supply chain, she said the security of food supplies have been normalized.

1 Comment

  • MA KHUMALO Jul 23, 2021

    Informative, thanks to the writer.

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