Mall owners say community groups were more effective than police, soldiers in July unrest

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About 80% of respondents indicated that political stability and policy certainty is the biggest factor for them in deciding when to resume full operations or to invest more in SA.
About 80% of respondents indicated that political stability and policy certainty is the biggest factor for them in deciding when to resume full operations or to invest more in SA.
Rajesh Jantilal/AFP
  • The SA Property Owners Association conducted a survey among 20 large commercial property companies and funds affected by unrest and looting in July.
  • The respondents felt that support from private security agencies and community groups was more effective than that of SAPS and the SANDF.
  • About 80% of respondents indicated that political stability and policy certainty were the biggest factors for them in deciding when to resume full operations or to invest more in SA.


While private security agencies were deemed to have mostly provided effective assistance to commercial property owners during the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and parts of Gauteng and Mpumalanga in July, the same cannot be said of the SA Police Service (SAPS) and the SA National Defence Force (SANDF).

This emerged from a survey conducted by the South African Property Owners' Association (SAPOA) among 20 large commercial property companies and funds. SAPOA is the representative body of the commercial property industry sector in the country, with an estimated 90% of such owners as members.

Respondents represented 53 commercial properties damaged in KZN, 38 in Gauteng, and one in Mpumalanga. These included 2 362 stores looted or damaged and 3 217 jobs lost due to rioting.

Asked how effective assistance was from private security agencies, SAPS, community or residential groups and the SANDF during the unrest and related looting and damage to property, 84% of respondents said private security support was effective. Only 27% said SAPS support was effective and only 25% said SANDF support was effective. Half of respondents thought the assistance from community or residential groups was effective.

About 72% of respondents indicated that they will increase security at their properties by means of the enhanced presence of security personnel or increased fencing surrounding the properties, while 44% plan to install CCTV cameras.

Furthermore, 80% of respondents indicated that political stability and policy certainty were the biggest factors for them in deciding when to resume full operations or to invest more in SA.

For 75% of respondents, a functional and efficient municipality is an important factor and 65% raised the importance of a guaranteed supply of water and electricity.

For 60%, it is important that government address what they regard as excessive property rates, while 55% raised the issue of safety and security and 55% mentioned upgrading and ongoing maintenance of infrastructure as important.

State-owned short-term risk insurer the South African Special Risks Insurance Association (Sasria) - the only insurer covering risks like public disorder - said on Tuesday that the insurance claims by over 14 000 businesses affected by the July looting stood at R32 billion, with R12.6 billion paid out so far. The amount is based on a total of 14 051 claims that have been filed. 

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