A week full of unrest, violent rioting and looting breaking out in the wake of former President Jacob Zuma’s incarceration, amongst other reasons, has left the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province of South Africa nearly in ruin.
The violence and looting will cost the province’s economy an estimated R20-billion ($1.3-billion). After the arrest of the former president earlier in July, his most incensed supporters organised and launched a series of riots across the streets of KZN.
The rampaging brought the province to a standstill, with immense damages to property, supply and trade lines blocked, and factories, warehouses and trucks looted and set to the torch in what the South African government is now calling a ‘failed insurgency’.
Gauteng was next as the rioting and looting spread to South Africa’s economic powerhouse province. However, Gauteng was relatively less affected than KZN.
Addressing the media on Tuesday, acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the damages to factories and retail facilities would hurt the economy. According to Times Lives, Ntshavheni cited figures from SA Property Owners’ Association, saying that KZN is facing an estimated blow of R20-billion to its GDP.
“This effect will be felt both in KZN and across the rest of the country. Some production facilities have been damaged, though fortunately, most factories and supplier facilities are intact. Work is underway to assess the damage to property as a result of the unrest,” said the acting Minister.
“In terms of extensive damage, 161 malls were affected, 11 warehouses, eight factories affected and 161 liquor outlets and distributors were extensively damaged,” said Ntshavheni about the damage in KZN.
The acting Minister said that a further 200 shopping centres were looted with more than 100 malls either burnt or sustaining significant fire damage.
“In KZN alone they are estimating that stock to the value R1.5-billion has been lost in Durban alone and 1,400 ATMs have been damaged, And 300 banks and Post Office outlets were vandalised, along with 90 pharmacies.”
As a result of the widespread nature of the damage 150,000 jobs are at risk in KZN, Ntshavheni said.
The economic cluster in the government is consolidating a package to intervene in the economy, with the acting Minister sharing that the package would especially target uninsured small businesses struck by the looting.