#UnrestSA: As many as 105 000 jobs on the line as companies count cost of looting in KZN, Gauteng

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SANDF members inspect Jabulani Mall after rampant looting in July.
SANDF members inspect Jabulani Mall after rampant looting in July.
Gallo Images/Sharon Seretlo
  • The number of unemployed people relying on UIF to survive is expected to increase.
  • An estimated 105 000 workers in Gauteng and KZN are faced with job losses.
  • This was caused by the rampant looting of businesses last month.

The unrest that destroyed many KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng businesses is expected to result in about 105 000 people facing a bleak future without jobs.

Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi is worried about the prospects of the affected employees and business owners.

Last month, parts of the two provinces experienced violent looting as well as the torching of malls, shopping centres and warehouses.

Nxesi said severe job losses would emanate from the aftermath of the unrest.

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - 15 JULY: Residents of
Residents of Alexandra cleaning up after several days of looting.

"As a consequence, many of those businesses were turned into casualties and failed to operate," Nxesi said.

"The biggest threat was that many workers lost their jobs and income. Some of the business outlets have started to rebuild, the majority of them will take many months to reopen. Some businesses fear the recurrence of the violence experienced, and the lack of resources to finance the destroyed businesses.

READ | How taxi association Santaco became the unlikely heroes of #UnrestSA

"The effect will be very dire for ordinary workers, who may be laid off temporarily or permanently as a result. As government, we have negotiated some relief as part of UIF benefits aimed at remunerating financial hardships for the workers affected or destroyed and looted businesses," said Nxesi.

ESHOWE, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 13: Protesters run wit
Protesters in Eshowe, KZN, run with looted goods during July's looting.

Nxesi visited some of the affected businesses in Soweto, Ekurhuleni and Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal.

The minister promised to expand his visit to Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Mamelodi and Sebokeng.

"According to information obtained, a total of 76 shopping malls and centres in Gauteng were severely affected. We are not counting KwaZulu-Natal. You can imagine a mall employing 1 500 people and another with 1 000 people. How many jobs have been lost there, without adding the KwaZulu-Natal chaos.

GRAPHIC | #UnrestSA: Counting the cost of rioting and looting

"I have been told that Pietermaritzburg is in ashes. There are some estimates where some are saying that anything between 75 000 and 105 000 people have lost their jobs. What happens to those workers?

SOWETO, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 18: Alexandra township
Clean-up campaigns in Soweto after July's looting.

"Indeed, we must condemn this reckless criminal action. It must never happen again under our watch. What do we do now?" Nxesi asked.

Nxesi said many consumers, who relied on the malls which were looted, have nowhere to buy their goods.

READ | Unrest-affected employees may get up to R17 712 month in govt relief

"What was in the minds of people who destroyed businesses? We have problems and must do interventions. It is imperative to note the state of poor labour legislation compliance by some of the looted businesses.

"Some employers were collecting UIF from workers and not submitting it. Those employers stole workers' money. Some were not even deducting UIF," Nxesi said.

The department has deployed its inspectors to some of the affected malls to assist workers.

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