The Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has called upon President Cyril Ramaphosa to urgently declare a State of Emergency in KwaZulu-Natal as looting of businesses continued unabated on Monday and Tuesday.

Looters pillaged supermarkets and bottle stores and torched businesses across the province since Sunday night. Warehouses and supermarket distribution centres were targeted as residents armed with guns, hockey sticks and air rifles, organised themselves to protect their neighbourhoods with the support of dedicated local SAPS officers. The SA National Defence Force (SANDF) was conspicuous by its absence as the looting and torching continued with little intervention by the few SANDF vehicles that were spotted in the Durban CBD, in Chris Hani Road North of Durban and in Glenwood.  One SANDF vehicle was photographed blocking off North Ridge Road in Glenwood on Tuesday night. 

 “Recent behaviour has had a negative impact on business, the economy and threatened innocent lives. With the COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the nation and numbers of infections on the rise this unprecedented conduct puts further strain to businesses already suffering consequences of the virus and will further delay the recovery process,” the DCCI said in a statement.

 “We commend our officers who have made 757 arrests thus far in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. However, at present the police are not visible, businesses are still being looted as we speak, the SANDF that was deployed has not been seen in our communities.  Businesses are still being looted and set alight the situation is now completely out of control. We cannot waste any more time as law enforcement is not coping with the current situation. As organised business we have been calling for the president to act and deploy more SANDF to assist our law enforcement agencies in a situation that is beyond their means,” the DCCI said.

 “The only solution to arrest the problem at hand is for the President to declare a State of emergency and have heavy presence of all security and law enforcement agencies visible. The city, the province, the country cannot afford another 24hrs of looting, property being destroyed, food being stolen, business owners and employees losing another day of work. We will be headed towards a catastrophic state as a country.  Now more than ever the private and public sector need to work together to achieve stability at all costs,” the DCCI said


Presh JM Reporter

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