eThekwini Mayor cites potential R20bn GDP loss, calls for unrest to stop

eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda

eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda

14th July 2021

By: Sashnee Moodley

Senior Deputy Editor Polity and Multimedia


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eThekwini Mayor Mxolisi Kaunda revealed on Wednesday that the loss of gross domestic product (GDP) could be over R20-billion if the protests across KwaZulu-Natal do not end immediately.

Protests against the imprisonment of former President Jacob Zuma turned violent over the weekend, with looting continuing to plague parts of Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal.

The municipality's preliminary analysis estimates that there has been R1-billion in loss of stock and R15-billion in damage to property and equipment. At least 40 000 business have been impacted and 129 000 jobs are at risk, with the Mayor warning that a large portion of that may already be lost.

“Our teams are currently assessing the economic impact of the unrest as we know a number of factories and shopping malls have been destroyed. We are engaging with the sector through the eThekwini economic council to establish how we can work together during the crisis and the aftermath,” Kaunda said.

He stressed that medical and health personnel, as well as municipal staff, must be allowed to travel to work, and warned that the provision of services would be affected if these personnel were not allowed to do so.

Kaunda also commended law enforcement agencies for arresting perpetrators involved in looting and violence. He revealed that over 200 people were arrested around the city.

He noted reports of some police officers allegedly involved in looting. He assured the public that most police members were “hardworking, law-abiding professionals who have worked very hard in this crisis”.

“It is time for the current unrest to stop and for all of us to rebuild our beautiful city and economy which has already been battered by the Covid-19 pandemic. We want to remind our residents that if this unrest continues it will have long-term, devastating impacts on our lives and livelihoods,” the Mayor said.

Meanwhile, Kaunda noted that social media messages had been circulating, inciting racial tension and violence, and he appealed to communities to not be divided by such messages.

“eThekwini belongs to all who live in it, therefore, we cannot have no-go areas for certain racial groups. The time for us to unite is now and to reject the criminality. We can’t be divided on the basis of our colour,” he stressed.

Edited by David Shepherd
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