The South African Property Owners Association (SAPOA) has called for greater action from government during the civil unrest sweeping KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
“It is clear from yesterday and last night’s escalation (12th of July) of looting and destruction of retail outlets and shopping centres in the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces, that shopping centres are being targeted and among the first in line with regards to the looting” comments SAPOA CEO, Neil Gopal.
“This anarchy has resulted in well over R10 billion worth of damage. Even though President Cyril Ramaphosa appealed last night for calm, and he has authorised the deployment of 2 500 SANDF personnel, these security measures are simply not enough to quell this level of violence and destruction of private property.”
“We appeal to the Presidency to significantly increase the number of soldiers to be deployed with immediate effect. Disturbingly, we are also seeing food distribution centres in Durban being looted and destroyed. This will further exacerbate the crisis and have lasting implications on our food security and the food chain in general. Even if we can get distribution centres to deliver to our supermarkets, it will not be possible for the public to purchase goods at malls that have already been burnt and vandalised, or simply closed due to threats of violence.”
“We are also alarmed that South Africans are now arming themselves to protect their own property. This is not surprising (in the absence of policing), but it is a dangerous situation if not brought under control.”
SAPOA calls upon the Presidency to urgently:
- Increase the deployment of more soldiers with immediate effect.
- Declare certain areas of the economy like the ports, hospitals, clinics, food distribution centres, communications towers, shopping centres etc as key national points to be guarded by the military.
- Restore law and order.
- Ensure that the soldiers and SAPS keep citizens in their communities and that citizens stay indoors.
- Ensure that the Covid-19 vaccination programme is back on track.
- Law enforcement agencies act swiftly and decisively against the perpetrators of violence and unlawful acts.
The Property Industry will be addressing the media via Microsoft Teams on Wednesday, 14th of July at 11:00am regarding the acts of violence that has resulted in over 200 malls being looted and/or destroyed with over 600 stores burnt or damaged so far.