The increasing criminality across the country, especially in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, has several industries calling on the government to declare a state of emergency.
The latest call comes from the beer industry, with them not only asking the government to declare a state of emergency but also to increase the number of South African Defence Force (SANDF) officers that were deployed in hot spots in these provinces.
Other industries that also asked the government to declare a state of emergency includes the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa, the Durban Chamber of Commerce and the former national director of public prosecutions, Vusi Pikoli.
The Beer Association said that, “President Ramaphosa needs to act now to save what is left of our industry or the country will face the prospect of devastating job losses throughout the beer value chain. This has included scores of liquor outlets, depots, warehouses, distribution centres and specialised manufacturing facilities being targeted, which is threatening the total collapse of the alcohol industry that is already on its knees due to the four alcohol bans that have been enforced over the past 16 months.”
The group said that early estimates show that about 600 retail and liquor stores were damaged, or destroyed in some cases, with estimated damages amounting to billions.
“Heineken’s Pinetown warehouse was looted on Sunday and cleaned out by Tuesday. All office equipment, IT equipment, batteries and tyres from trucks were stolen. Crates, empty bottles and stock were also taken. Heineken’s preliminary estimation of losses suffered is in the millions. Furthermore, two SAB depots in KwaZulu-Natal were also looted and set alight today. There is a fear that the other three remaining SAB facilities in the province will also be targeted. Courier companies carrying alcohol and raw material such as malt for export have also been attacked.”
Private security companies have attempted to protect these facilities but without support from the SANDF and the South African Police Service (SAPS) they have been overwhelmed by the sheer number of looters.
The former national director of public prosecutions, Vusi Pikoli, has started a petition to encourage President Ramaphosa to declare a state of emergency in an effort to stop the looting and rioting.
Pikoli made a statement that, “45 people have already died. The police are shot at. Shopping malls are being looted, and others set on fire. The economy is being destroyed”. He also added that South Africans are likely to experience food -, fuel – and medical supply shortages.
“(This) takes us to section 37 of the constitution that allows the president to declare a state of emergency. “The state has a constitutional obligation to protect innocent lives and businesses. The economy is under attack, and infrastructure is being destroyed,” he said.
However, Defence Minister Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakulu said that the government will only consider instituting a state of emergency if they deem it necessary to quell the violence being seen in Gauteng and KZN.
She added that the decision rests with President Ramaphosa but that the department of defense does not feel that the country has reached the point where it is necessary yet.
Sources: Business Tech, Business Insider
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