Business Unity SA calls for 24-hour curfew in looted KZN and Gauteng areas

Members of the community come out in numbers to help with clean-up operations after the days of looting and rioting in the area in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg.
Members of the community come out in numbers to help with clean-up operations after the days of looting and rioting in the area in Vosloorus, east of Johannesburg.
Image: Alaister Russell/The Sunday Times

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) on Thursday called on government to institute a 24-hour curfew in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng areas which have been ravaged by looting and protest action.

In a media briefing, Busa said this should be accompanied by the full deployment of the army and police.

The organisation said this would not be an indefinite curfew but would allow the army and police to position themselves to allow some normalcy to resume.

“This is an emergency unparalleled in our democratic history and requires the state to take immediate action,” said Busa president Sipho Pityana.

This was just one of the stringent measures that Busa suggested should be put in place by the government to quell the situation which has left scores of businesses in ruins.

Other measures suggested by the association were:

  • An allocation of emergency funds for the call-up of all army reservists nationally and police reservists in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.
  • Reverse the amendment to the Disaster Management Act which allows for gatherings by certain parties.

“The disorder has had a devastating economic impact, which represents a significant setback for economic recovery, and has significantly magnified the challenge of dealing with poverty, inequality and unemployment,” Pityana said.

“It has massively undermined investor confidence, which will take years to rebuild. The impact on employers and employees is severe and will be significant for some time as businesses rebuild,” Pityana added.

He said Busa was extremely anxious about the losses that had been experienced by businesses, and it was important for investors to see that government has a grip on the situation.

Pityana expressed that if this was not contained, the destruction could soon spread to other areas.

“The violence is characterised by contagion, as the impunity that is seen in one area emboldens those in other areas,” he said.

“Without clear and dramatic interventions, contagion will continue. We are concerned that the state action to date has been inadequate,” Pityana added.

The association indicated it was willing to work with government to identify risk areas and key business infrastructure that needed protection at this time.

In closing, the leadership urged President Cyril Ramaphosa to take decisive action.

“The perpetrators must feel the full might of the law. The president needs to pull the entirety of government behind this effort,” Busa added.

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