EFF Clicks Free State
Photo: EFF Free State

The South African Government has expressed concern at the vandalising and torching of Clicks stores across the country, saying it goes against the spirit of peace and respect for human rights.

In a statement on Monday, government said it noted the public outrage following the Clicks advertisement, where black hair is portrayed as “dry and damaged” and white hair as “normal”.

Government said while it is equally disturbed by the crude racist display by the advertisement in question, acts of lawlessness, including vandalism and burning down Clicks stores, on Monday were of concern.

It said this goes “against the spirit of peace and respect for human rights that have shaped this country since the dawn of democracy”.

Government also spoke out against engaging in lawless behaviour, saying that this kind of behaviour is not the responsible way to resolve conflict.

As the matter is being ventilated, government called on all South Africans to resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands, to remain calm and follow the correct and legal channels to address their concerns.

It called on citizens, who witness any form of intimidation or act of violence, to contact the nearest police station or call the toll free number on 10 111 to report such incidents.

“We remain committed to the values of democracy. Any form of discrimination or violation of human rights for whatever reason cannot be tolerated, as it undermines the progress made in building a united democratic country,” said Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu.

Government said the fight against discrimination remains the priority of government and it is for this reason that in March 2019, Cabinet approved the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance — a tool that empowers government to act against such injustices.

“Even in the face of resistance by a small minority, we continue with efforts to build a united South Africa that we can all be proud of. In the spirit of social cohesion, let us all cherish and respect one another, regardless of colour, background, gender and religion,” Mthembu said.

Meanwhile the EFF entered its second day of action, saying “we shall not co-exist with racists”.

Yesterday Clicks Group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder told Cape Talk that the employees involved in posting the images have been suspended. He added: “The digital team is made up of two black employees, two white employees, and a coloured manager. How they didn’t find this (advertisement) insensitive is beyond me… It shows that I have a lot of work to do in terms of sensitivity training.”

Sources include EFF, Cape Talk and SAnews.gov.za