Clicks hair ad fury: Govt calls for calm as violence breaks out amid EFF protests

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  • The government says engaging in lawless behaviour is not a responsible way to resolve conflict.
  • This after several Clicks stores were vandalised on Monday following a hair advert that sparked outrage.
  • More than 400 stores were targeted during the protest action.

The government has noted the public outrage over a TRESemme advertisement which Clicks published but says engaging in lawless behaviour is not a responsible way to resolve conflict.

"While we are equally disturbed by the crude racist display by the advertisement in question, the acts of lawlessness of vandalising and burning down Clicks stores that have been reported today are concerning and go against the spirit of peace and respect for human rights that has shaped this country since the dawn of democracy.

"Engaging in lawless behaviour is not a responsible way to resolve conflict," the director-general of the Government Communication and Information Systems, Phumla Williams, said in a statement on Monday.

This after more than 400 Clicks stores across KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, the Eastern Cape and Western Cape were affected by protest action by the EFF on Monday.

In addition, the retailer stated earlier that seven of its stores were damaged, including Saveways in Witbank and Cycad in Polokwane.

The EFF had made a list of demands to the retailer to meet within 24 hours about the hair advert that included four women: two black and two white.

The advert described the hair of two black women as "dry and damaged" as well as "frizzy and dull", while the hair of the two white women was described as "fine and flat" and "normal".

Clicks has since apologised for the advert.

However, Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni rejected what she called a "superficial apology by Clicks management".

She said if Clicks management was serious about making amends for its error then "it must be reflected by steps to place more hair products made by South African SMMEs for African hair on its shelves".

READ | 425 Clicks stores targeted in EFF protests in KZN, Gauteng and Western Cape

The government called on all South Africans to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands, and rather remain calm and follow the correct and legal channels to address their concerns.

"Members of the public who witness any form of intimidation or act of violence should contact the nearest police station or call the toll free number: 10 111 to report such incidents," Williams added.

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said the government remained committed to the values of democracy.

"Any form of discrimination or violation of human rights for whatever reason cannot be tolerated as it undermines the progress made in building a united democratic country.

"Even in the face of resistance by a small minority, we continue with efforts to build a united South Africa that we can all be proud of. As we launch Heritage Month today, we are reminded of the many cultures, traditions and languages that make us who we are. In the spirit of social cohesion, let us all cherish and respect one another regardless of colour, background, gender and religion," he added.

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