Sasria doccie captures July riots and aftermath

Looters flee from a shop as a police officer fires from a gun in the Springfield Value Centre in Durban during the July 2021 unrest. File photo.
Looters flee from a shop as a police officer fires from a gun in the Springfield Value Centre in Durban during the July 2021 unrest. File photo.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

A documentary tracing the debilitating aftermath of the unrest that took place in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng in July two years ago has been launched.

The documentary titled The Unrest was made by state-owned company Sasria. It highlights eyewitness accounts and captures the events of the seven-day unrest which took place from July 9 to 18. The documentary premiered in KwaMashu, KwaZulu-Natal, the epicentre of the riots.

The protest, which escalated into the looting of shops, was preceded by the arrest of former president Jacob Zuma after being found guilty of contempt of court for refusing to appear before the Zondo commission. His incarceration at Estcourt Prison set in motion a series of destructive, coordinated events that threatened the security of the country. 

Sasria chief executive officer, Mpumi Tyikwe, said the documentary was a thought-provoking piece of work, “that captures the events of those seven days. They were consequential days that got the world talking and demonstrated Sasria’s significance in SA’s socioeconomic ecosystem.” 

Sasria is a non-life insurance company that provides coverage for damage caused by special risks such as politically motivated malicious acts, riots, strikes, terrorism and public disorders. After the unrest, Sasria MD Cedric Masondo estimated claims arising from the riots and looting in both provinces would be in the region of R32bn, making it the world’s most expensive riots. The organisation received more than 14,000 claims. 

Besides the financial losses, at least 354 people died as a result of clashes between protesters and looters and private security guards hired by shop owners in KZN. Some of the deaths were blamed on armed vigilante groups who claimed they were protecting their communities from looters in areas such as Phoenix. 

In the documentary, Sasria executives and several industry leaders share their insights, as people who were at the epicentre of the chaos. Those interviewed will be touching on eyewitness accounts and the debilitating aftermath that the unrest caused.  

“In the documentary, viewers will be able to understand the potential alternative strategies that could have lessened the disaster’s magnitude. Further, there is a significant highlight on implications for businesses, the economy, and communities at large, presenting a profound understanding of the societal and economic consequences of the unrest,” Tyikwe said. 

Tyikwe said that the company has been working hard to settle all approved claims and those delayed have been due to various reasons such as reinstatements of building and business interruption dependencies on material damage claims being finalised. 

“Strong stakeholder relationships led to handling R30bn in claims, restoring businesses and ensuring settlement. Management team focuses on resolving claims and utilising lessons from the 2021 riots to improve responsiveness in Sasria,” said Tyikwe. 

The Unrest will also premiere in Johannesburg at Ster-Kinekor in Sandton City tomorrow.  

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