People flee from police as they carry goods while looting and vandalising the Lotsoho Mall in Katlehong township, East of Johannesburg.
- According to industry bodies more than 200 liquor stores have been looted in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng since unrest erupted.
- South Africa is currently facing restrictions on the sale of liquor due to the Covid-19 third wave.
- Liquor lobby groups are calling for a State of Emergency.
More than 200 liquor stores have been looted in
KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng since unrest erupted following the incarceration of
former president Jacob Zuma, says the South African Liquor Brandowners
Association (SALBA) CEO Kurt Moore.
In a joint statement issued with the National Liquor Traders
(NLT) on Wednesday, Moore said millions of rands’ worth of stock at warehouses
and retail premises had been lost, as well as stores being damaged, which the
statement attributed to an inadequate visible presence of police officers and
members of the South African Defence Force (SANDF).
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that the
military would be deployed to help law enforcement agencies quell ongoing riots.
Parts of South Africa – particularly in Kwazulu-Natal and
Gauteng – have been affected by looting, violence and damage to property which
escalated over the weekend.
Moore said the liquor industry was worried that looting would
spread beyond retail outlets and also endanger staff.
“Our big concern is that the focus is now shifting to
our primary production sites (breweries and distilleries) where high volume
pre-production alcohol is stored.
“Any attack on these sites poses a serious safety risk
for our security personnel on site, as well as looters and surrounding
communities,” said Moore.
Savanna producer Distell’s premises in Pinetown was looted
and torched on Tuesday.
NLT convenor Lucky Ntimane expressed concern that the
looting would fuel the illicit liquor trade, further hurting an already
battered beverage industry.
“If the destruction continues unabated, the liquor
industry will reach a point of no return and more than 200 000 people will be
out of work,” said Ntimane.
The extension of level 4 lockdown for an additional two
weeks until 25 July includes the prohibition of alcohol sales.
SALBA and NLT say they have written to the president calling
for the declaration of a State of Emergency to protect people, communities and
businesses in areas affected by the continuing unrest.
“The mass looting, threat to lives and livelihoods and
destruction of property has reached proportions that require the rapid and
effective deployment of SANDF troops to assist business owners,” said