Aug 18, 2022

Mawazo Writing Africa

Writing about the main

Businesses still not confident in KZN after July unrest: Durban Chamber CEO

A year after the July riots, investor confidence in KwaZulu-Natal has yet to be restored as many companies across the country are unsure that their money is safe in the province.

So says Palesa Phili, CEO of the Durban Chamber of Commerce and Industry, , addressing the media on Friday at a briefing by KwaZulu-Natal Prime Minister Sihle Zikalala

Zikalala and his team, including Ravi Pillay MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, carried out inspection visits to three shopping malls in and around Durban following last year’s riots rebuilt when they were destroyed by looters.

Contrary to Zikalala’s statement that large investments had been made in the province – an indication of investor confidence in the local economy – said Phili that the companies in SA continue to doubt el in the security of their investments in KwaZulu-Natal.

Phili said Durban’s latest home a nd garden show, which has made a comeback after a two-year hiatus due to lockdown restrictions , had signaled a gloomy outlook for investor confidence.

“Companies don’t know what’s happening from a security standpoint,” said Phili.

< span>“Recently we had a home and garden event and the figure we got is that 40% of the companies should come from outside. KZN decided not to come because they felt it wasn’t very safe province.”

Phili said private-public partnerships (PPP) are part of their solutions agreed with the state after the riots.

“The biggest problem we faced was that we didn’t have any information on the ground about what was coming. The worst thing we found was that the SAPS, metro police, private security firms, as well as the community policing forums, did not cooperate during the riots.”

< span>Between July 8th and July On February 17th last year, parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were in turmoil when thousands of people carried out looting that killed 354 people and lost over R50 billion to the national economy – R30 billion of that in KwaZulu-Natal alone.

Retail

Zikalala said the impact of the unrest was having some sectors hit harder than others.< /p>

“The retail industry disproportionately bore the brunt of the impact, with over 200 malls attacked and 1,787 retail outlets looted and damaged.

“A number of distribution centers, warehouses and large retailers such as Makro, Cato Ridge Distribution Center and Springfield Value Mart became key high value targets as the riots unfolded.”

Manufacturing

The manufacturing industry was also hit hard.

“The manufacturing sector saw damage to manufacturing equipment and ongoing logistical issues that drove up production costs.

A number of key players in the industry were seriously affected:< /p>

span>

▪ LG Electronics, a TV factory in Durban that opened in January 2020 and has created 100 jobs, was burned down and its warehouse ransacked. Efforts are underway to encourage the company to rebuild its factory.

▪ International food manufacturer Tiger Brands has estimated the cost of the inventory loss at over R150 million.

▪ South African brewers suffered losses close to R80 million when the company’s Pietermaritzburg and Newcastle depots were looted.

▪ Toyota SA ceased production at its Prospecton plant in Durban and exports from the plant ceased.

▪ A new garment factory opened at Isithebe Industrial Park in September 2020 (Kingspark Manufacturers) founded 600 jobs destroyed when machinery and raw materials were looted.

▪ The riots also led to the closure of restaurants and the cancellation of hotel bookings, leading to the recovery of a Sectors continued to be seriously impacted by pandemic-related restrictions fen.

At least 11 of the properties suffered fire damage, necessitating a comprehensive refurbishment construction process. The cost of repairing the buildings has been estimated at over R385 million.

South African Special Risk Insurance Association (Sasria)

< span>Zikalala said nearly a third (R8.3 billion) of the claims Sasria received after the riots have not yet been paid. of which over 13,000 (R23bn) from KZN. To date, R15.2 billion in claims have been paid out to KZN beneficiaries, while R8.3 billion is still pending.

Reconstruction< /b>

< span> According to Zikalala, while most insured businesses (big and small) have been rebuilt and are back to normal, there have been a number of large businesses, including mega-shopping malls like Edendale in Pietermaritzburg, Bridge City in KwaMashu and Springfield Value Centre, still under construction.

“Of concern, a number of malls, centers and businesses remain closed in the KwaMashu community, including Bridge City , the KwaMashu Center and most of the village of Dube near Inanda.

“While plans to rebuild some of these centers are underway, we remain concerned about the ongoing impact on community jobs and access to services. Bridge City is scheduled to open in March 2023.”

▪ In ILembe, the reconstruction of Mandeni Industrial Zone is underway and most of the affected malls and centers throughout the district have it reopened, including KwaDukuza Mall.

▪ In King Cetshwayo district, most stores have long since resumed operations and the situation has returned to normal. “A notable concern remains the closure of the eSikhawini shopping center in Esikhaleni municipality, which is expected to open in June 2023 after the completion of the reconstruction process.”

▪ In Zululand, although Nongoma was the hardest-hit local community, almost all affected stores and malls are now operational, except for some stores that burned in Nongoma Plaza District affected malls and malls are operational, including Jozini Mall, and the latest Spar, the in uMkhanyakude in Hlabisa is now open and all temporarily displaced workers are now back to work.

▪ In uMgungundlovu district, the reconstruction process is in full swing. Construction of the Brookside Mall at a cost of R130m creating 200 construction jobs and +200 permanent jobs is nearing completion. At the same time, active collaboration with local forums, civic structures and city councils has ensured that the reconstruction of Edendale Mall, at a cost of R231 million, will begin shortly.

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