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'The destruction is heartbreaking': Pick n Pay CEO on looting

A fire engulfs a centre during looting in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. File picture.
A fire engulfs a centre during looting in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu-Natal. File picture.
Image: Reuters/Sibonelo Zungu

As supermarket teams try to repair and restock their damaged stores, Pick n Pay Group CEO Pieter Boone on Thursday urged the government to reopen liquor sales to help sustain their businesses.

He has been visiting damaged stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng this week, meeting affected staff members, franchise partners and other stakeholders.

“The scale and the nature of the destruction is heartbreaking,” he said. 

“Speaking to franchisees and independent traders in the affected areas, I firmly believe that it is time now for the president [Cyril Ramaphosa] to announce a lifting of the ban on liquor sales.

“In normal times, many independent shopkeepers depend on responsible liquor sales to sustain their businesses, and will not survive another prolonged ban.

“The social unrest, looting, and damage has dealt them a further body blow — as well as releasing a large amount of looted liquor into the illicit market. Lifting the ban will be widely welcomed across the country as a positive and responsible step forward in our recovery from the events of last week.”

Boone said 136 of the group's food, grocery, clothing and building stores were looted and/or burnt, along with 76 liquor stores, across the two provinces. By the end of next week, 58 of these will be reopened.


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