Government condemns vandalism at Clicks stores

A Clicks store is seen 7 September 2020 after it was vandalised on the same day supporters of the EFF demonstrated at Clicks stores around the country after the franchise aired an advert deemed demeaning to black hair. Picture: Michel Bega

Cabinet says lawlessness and vandalism of private and public property should not be condoned as they are not a responsible and progressive option to resolve a conflict.

The government has condemned the acts of vandalism at all Clicks stores during EFF led protests this week.

In a statement following a virtual cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Cabinet said the Clicks advertisement which sparked the protests was a “great concern” and “extremely disturbing”.

“Cabinet considers the advertisement profoundly offensive and racist.

“Black hair has been the subject of intense politicisation and a source of unjust discrimination in our recent history. Our nation’s history is littered with laws and societal norms that equated ‘blackness’ and the associated physical traits – for example, dark skin, kinky and curly hair – to a badge of inferiority.

“We, therefore, welcome the immediate corrective actions taken by Clicks. These include their commitment to work with government to promote local products in all their stores and to collaborate with all their suppliers to promote the constitutional values as enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996. They will also put in place a diversity and inclusion training programme for all their managers and staff.

“Cabinet calls on the advertising agencies of Clicks and other stores to also adopt tangible programmes which promote and protect human rights, and raise awareness about despicable issues of racism, inequality and discrimination,” the statement reads.

The government called on all sectors of society to endorse partnerships between government departments and Chapter Nine institutions in implementing anti-racism and anti-discrimination educational campaigns.

The government further reminded South Africans that though the right to speak out against any injustice without fear of reprisal is enshrined in the country’s Constitution, “the right to protest comes with the inherent responsibility to do so peacefully and without infringing on the rights of others”.

“Government condemns the acts of vandalism at Clicks stores. Such unlawful acts undermine the spirit of human rights that has shaped this country since the dawn of democracy.

“South Africa is working towards growing the economy and cannot afford to risk the loss of jobs due to business closures. Lawlessness and vandalism of private and public property should not be condoned as they are not a responsible and progressive option to resolve a conflict.”

On the decline of the economy by 51%, said it would urgently embark on an infrastructure-led economic recovery plan, “working together with all our social partners to get the economy on a better growth trajectory”.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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