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In South Africa, at least 40,000 businesses have been looted, set on fire or vandalized during the deadly violence of the past few days, the government announced on Tuesday (July 20th).
“40,000 businesses were affected” by looting, arson or acts of vandalism in the Kwazulu-Natal (east) region, Small Business Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni told reporters.
It was in this region that unrest began on July 9, first in the form of riots following the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma for contempt of justice. Since then, they have spread, amid endemic unemployment and new restrictions against the Covid-19 pandemic, reaching Johannesburg and killing more than 200, according to the latest reports.
A cost of $ 3.4 billion
Economically, the government estimates that the violence will cost the economy 50 billion rand, or $ 3.4 billion, to the economy. In retail and in the Kwazulu-Natal region alone, 161 shopping centers suffered “Serious damage”, reported Mme Blood.
At least 1,400 ATMs were vandalized, as well as 300 banks or post offices, still in this region alone. Finally, 90 pharmacies were destroyed, “Without reconstruction possible”, as the country suffers a new wave of Covid-19.
As for the Gauteng region where Johannesburg is located, the government is still assessing the damage. But “There is hardly any economic sector that has been spared by the violence”, has already warned Tuesday President Cyril Ramaphosa, during a meeting with economic officials.
The two affected regions represent half of the country’s GDP (gross domestic product). Mr Ramaphosa also admitted that his government was ” not enough “ prepared for this type of violence, which seemed to subside with no new incidents reported since Monday.