Riots which began after former South African President Jacob Zuma handed himself in to police to serve a 15-month sentence have descended into days of violence and looting. More than 200 shopping malls had been looted by Monday afternoon, several shopping centers in Soweto - South Africa's largest township - have been completely ransacked, with ATMs broken into, restaurants, stores selling alcohol, and clothing shops all left in tatters. Essential healthcare services like the collection of chronic medication by tuberculosis, HIV, and diabetes patients were also affected by the violence. A government target to vaccinate 200,000 people on Monday fell short by 54,000 shots, mostly owing to disruption from the violence. Shops and petrol stations have been forced to close while on the streets protesters have hurled stones and police responded with rubber bullets.
As clean-up operations get underway in some areas, estimated damages amounted to more than R5 billion and counting for the retail industry alone. More than 200 malls were targeted, over 800 stores were looted and 100 were completely burnt. In Durban’s economic zone R1.5 billion in stock has been lost, with R15 billion in damages to property. 50,000 informal traders and 40,000 businesses have likely been impacted by the violence and looting. As many as 150,000 jobs are at risk, meaning as many as 1.5 million homes are without incomes.
Many South Africans and those around the world felt the need to support the many areas affected by the civil unrest but were unsure of the best way to go about it. Thanks to our KZN branch secretary, Crispian Stanford (1968S) for initiating the campaign, the OD Union (Bishops Diocesan College Alumni Association) will be raising funds for Gift of the Givers to support those affected by the disaster throughout South Africa.
The Gift of the Givers Foundation is the largest disaster response, non-governmental organisation of African origin on the African continent. It works to unite people, with a common vision, to make a real and telling difference by serving mankind for the ‘Greater Good’
While KwaZulu-Natal was under siege by the raging riots and looters who bombarded shopping malls and warehouses in Durban and Pietermaritzburg, residents were left without basic food staples such as bread and milk. Deliveries of fresh bread and milk and other produce were halted due to the closure of the N3, the shutdown of a number of production plants and the destruction of warehouses that stored the goods. Gift of the Givers has been at the forefront of assisting in rebuilding the affected communities, working round the clock packing food parcels, sourcing bread and partnering up with other companies to reach communities that were hit by the food crisis. They've also organised to assist in restocking medical supplies to the affected hospitals and clinincs.
Our initial target was R20 000 but due to the overwhelming response we've received within just 24 hours, we've decided to try and get to R50 000 and if we do, we'll aim for 100 000! So, every little bit counts and all are welcome to contribute.
The OD Union calls upon its members to submit applications for the position of Honorary Treasurer of the Union. More...