Videos have surfaced on social media showing a group of people, some of them dressed in Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) regalia, trashing a Clicks store in Queenstown, Eastern Cape, on Monday.
Social cohesion advocate Yusuf Abramjee shared the videos on Twitter. The individuals are seen pushing and pulling down racks of store items to the floor before eventually leaving.
The incident came as EFF leaders led shutdowns of Clicks stores in various shopping centres across South Africa in protest against a Clicks hair advert posted on its website last week.
The advert, which was deemed racially insensitive, contained images that appeared to depict African hair negatively compared to caucasian hair.
In one set of images, a black woman’s hair was labelled “dry and damaged,” while a white woman’s hair was referred to as “fine and flat.” In another set, African hair was labelled “frizzy and dull” while white hair was called “normal.”
Clicks issued an apology soon afterwards. In a letter to the EFF, it explained that it had not commissioned the advert, which was instead “part of a promotion by Unilever and/or TRESemmé.” The two companies also issued an apology of their own.
The healthcare group invited the EFF to a conference call on Monday (7 September) to discuss the matter. It also said it was taking disciplinary action against those involved in the advert. However, the EFF insisted that its demand that Clicks dismisses all those involved in commissioning the advert had not been met. The party therefore went ahead with its threat to shut down all Clicks stores.
EFF leader Julius Malema was at the Mall of the North in Polokwane while his deputy Floyd Shivambu was at Sandton City. Other leaders made appearances at Tshwane’s Menlyn Mall, Cape Town’s Goodwood shopping centre, Emlahlaleni’s Highveld Mall and Midrand’s Mall of Africa.
Reports also emerged that a Clicks store at Saveways Centre in Emalahleni had been petrol-bombed on Monday. Speaking to EWN, Mpumalanga police spokesperson Leonard Hlathi said, “According to information that we have gathered, [at] around 1am, a group of men came and threw a petrol bomb at the shop. However, only a few glass [panes] were cracked but the shop itself is safe. Nothing was damaged in the shop.”
Incidents of vandalism at Clicks stores were also reported in Polokwane and Alberton. Speaking at Sandton City, EFF Deputy President Floyd Shivambu said the party had not issued instructions to vandalise any property.
He said, “It is unfortunate that some of the stores have been burned. I’m sure that there are other people who have [decided] to be more physical about it, but we have not yet gotten there as the EFF.
“Our action now is just to stop their [Clicks] operations. They must lose profit and they must lose revenue.”