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Civil Unrest: KZN counts the cost, assesses the impact, and looks ahead

Published Jul 26, 2021


DURBAN - PRELIMINARY estimates suggest that the impact on eThekwini’s gross domestic product would be about R20 million, following civil unrest in the province.

Over the weekend, Premier Sihle Zikalala said their assessments revealed that the eThekwini Metro and uMsunduzi Municipality remained the hardest hit and they estimated that the unrest would affect eThekwini in the loss of stock of more than R1.5 billion; damage to property and equipment of more than R15bn; more than 50 000 informal traders affected; more than 40 000 businesses affected; and more than 150 000 jobs at risk.

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Information also indicated that a number of key centres of the economy were negatively affected, such as 139 schools; 89 malls and shopping centres; 89 liquor outlets; 88 ATMs; 45 warehouses; 37 delivery trucks were burnt; 22 factories; eight banks; eight liquor distributors, and one hospital.

A survey by the KwaZulu-Natal Agricultural Union estimated that 55% of economic activities were destroyed during the unrest – 64% of rural towns were already experiencing severe food shortages, 32% were experiencing moderate food shortages, and only 4% report a relatively secure food supply.

An analysis of security in the province revealed that at least 38 people were killed in Phoenix, Inanda and Verulam by vigilantes.

“Those who died in the unrest include Africans and Indians, although the proportion of Africans who died is much higher. So far, at least five people have been arrested and more arrests are still expected. The arrests are critical in enforcing the rule of law, without fear or favour,” said Zikalala.

In total, at least 251 people were killed in KZN. The police were investigating 163 cases of murder, and 87 inquests dockets have been opened, and 20 arrests have been made for cases of murder related to the unrest.

Acting Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni broke down the 163 murder cases as follows: eThekwini (110), Umgungundlovu (20), Ugu (9), Ilembe (8), King Cetshwayo (6), Umkhanyakude (3), Umzinyathi (3), Harry Gwala and Amajuba (1). There were also 87 inquest dockets opened: eThekwini (52), Umgungundlovu (15), Harry Gwala (7), Ugu (4), Amajuba (3), Umzinyathi (3), King Cetshwayo (2) and Umkhanyakude (1). One case of culpable homicide was opened in eThekwini.

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Zikalala added that, as of Saturday morning, 2 763 people had been arrested in the province for looting and the majority of suspects were arrested for being in possession of stolen goods.

Zikalala said, as part of their response, they would activate the Communities-in-Dialogue programme on an urgent basis.

The provincial government also consulted with their social partners, including political parties, business, traditional leaders, religious leaders and transport operators in order to respond collectively to the crisis.

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KZN was calling for both relief and stimulus packages.

Basic Education Minister Angie Motshekga said the KZN Education Department had listed 137 schools, eight circuit offices and three education centres that were vandalised.

Acting Health Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi said an estimated 120 pharmacies were destroyed, leading to the loss of about 47 500 vaccine doses.

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The KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs issued a pre-directive, in terms of Section 28 of the National Environment Management Act. The pre-directive was a precursor to a Section 28 directive, which specified measures to be taken by the company UPL, in Cornubia.

The directive instructed the company to make full disclosure of the materials and chemicals that were burnt. This would include the description of the chemicals and the pollutants arising from the fire incident.

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