NEDBANK Group has called for “decisive action” to restore law and order in South Africa. The call comes amid ongoing violence in several areas of South Africa where looters have ransacked shopping malls and other businesses as tensions boil over the incarceration of former President Jacob Zuma.
Last week, Mr Zuma reported to a prison facility in his home province of KwaZulu-Natal to begin serving a 15-month sentence for contempt of court charges. This after he refused to appear before the Justice Raymond Zondo-led Commission into wide-ranging allegations of official corruption and state capture during his nine years in office, which ended in 2018.
The South African Police Service (SAPS) this week said the death toll from the violence stood at 72.
“The total number of people who have lost their lives since the beginning of these protests has risen to 72,” the police said in a Tuesday statement.
Most of the deaths Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces “relate to stampedes that occurred during incidents of looting of shops”, SAPS added. The looters targeted food, electric appliances, liquor and clothing from stores. Others targeted bank ATMs, reports indicate.
It was against this background that Nedbank Group yesterday issued its call for decisive action to restore normalcy.
“Nedbank today called on organised labour, civil society, political parties, business and religious organisations to unite in condemning the violent lawlessness and criminality that has engulfed parts of the country over the past few days,” the bank said in a statement to the Lesotho Times.
“The riots come at a time when SA can least afford it and we call for urgent, broad-based leadership and decisive action to restore law and order.
“The devastating impact of Covid-19 has already caused tragic loss of lives and livelihoods. This lawlessness by some will result in even further devastation to the lives of many. It harms our country and all South Africans. No good can come of it.
“As the country grapples with an intensifying health crisis, the (Covid-19) vaccination drive, which finally gained some momentum, cannot be allowed to stall. The loss of lives and destruction of businesses and homes cannot be justified in any circumstances.
“Nedbank is committed to working with all like-minded South Africans to restore law and order, rebuild our economy, create employment and enhance our country’s reputation as an investment destination,” the bank said.
Nedbank Group is a bank holding company listed on Johannesburg Stock Exchange, with a market capitalisation of R83 billion as at 31 May 2021. Apart from South Africa, the group has operations in Lesotho, Namibia, Eswatini Mozambique and Zimbabwe.