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KZN police verifying say of possible weekend looting of Massmart stores

Police officers in KwaZulu-Natal are investigating claims that Massmart stores in the province will be looted over the weekend.
Police officers in KwaZulu-Natal are investigating claims that Massmart stores in the province will be looted over the weekend.
Image: Freddy Mavundla

Members of crime intelligence in KwaZulu-Natal have been tasked with verifying say that Massmart stores in the province will be targeted for looting at the weekend. 

This comes after messages began circulating on social media platforms on Wednesday evening claiming a possible outbreak of civil unrest and looting of stores within the Massmart Group on Sunday.

In a letter, which SowetanLIVE's sister publication TimesLIVE is in possession of, provincial crime intelligence head Tso Tshika on Thursday tasked his members to verify the say being made against Massmart, which includes retailers such as Game, Builders Warehouse, Builders Express, Makro, Rhino, Jumbo Cash and Carry, and Cambridge.

The letter, which has been verified by two independent sources within crime intelligence, instructed provincial members to investigate say of possible looting as it had created panic among Massmart's directors. 

While the verification of the say is ongoing, it is understood that plans have been put in place to prevent or mitigate such threats. 

Crime intelligence said it was aware of planned action by members of the All Truck Drivers Forum and Allied SA (ATDFASA). 

ATDFASA secretary-general Sifiso Nyathi confirmed that certain drivers were planning a shutdown on Sunday February 27 over the hiring of foreign truck drivers.

He said despite negotiations between ATDFASA, the bargaining council and the unions, they have not been able to reach common ground.

“The bargaining council, including the unions, are failing to acknowledge that there are foreign truck drivers in this country. They also gave us a 5% increase — if it was 12% or 15% we would be fine, but not less than 10%. South African drivers are going to embark on this shutdown and we support them,” he said. 

Last year KZN was brought to its knees when civil unrest saw thousands of citizens embark on mass looting and anarchy soon after former president Jacob Zuma was incarcerated. 

At least 23 vehicles were torched along the N3 highway near Mooi River, resulting in a large portion of the highway being closed off, on July 9, a day after Zuma surrendered to police. 

The country suffered more than R30bn in damages between Gauteng and KZN during the unrest. 

On Wednesday the South African Special Risk Insurance Association (Sasria) said it had paid out R17.19bn in six months for say emanating from the July unrest.

A further R16.64bn is still due to be paid out.


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