Despite rampant looting and vandalism at its facilities in KwaZulu-Natal, retail group Massmart says it only expects slight delays in delivering online orders from its Makro and Game stores.
One of the biggest targets for looting over the past few days was the Massmart distribution centre in Durban’s industrial hub.
News footage filmed from the air showed thousands of people walking in and out of the facility in KwaZulu-Natal throughout Tuesday.
The thieves loaded cars, trolleys, and even baby strollers with their loot.
This included all manner of electrical appliances, including TVs, microwaves, refrigerators, furniture, and general goods and groceries.
By Wednesday morning, Queen Nandi Drive, the main road next to the facility, was left littered with cardboard boxes, stolen goods, and other debris.
Some looters appeared to have left their cars and large loot behind and walked from the scene on foot with what they could, likely because traffic was grid-locked.
The cars and taxis line up for some redistribution. Again note the cars which indicate the SA middle to upper-middle-class partaking in destruction and looting. Game Distribution Centre Durban pic.twitter.com/SyQhxdlpmF
— mike schussler (@mikeschussler) July 13, 2021
Queen Nandi Drive this morning. Sent from my neighborhood WhatsApp group. pic.twitter.com/eK4GUOml6O
— Fillip Sklodowska’s Cat (@stripper_oprah) July 14, 2021
Videos posted on Twitter over the last few days also showed Makro and Game stores being hit.
The Makro stores in Springfield in Durban and Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg were looted, while multiple shopping centres with Game stores in the two cities were also plundered and set alight.
At the Makro store in Springfield, looters stripped and made off with solar panels from the roofs of the parking lot after the building had been cleared of its stock.
Makro Springfield – The solar panels are being removed. pic.twitter.com/yBSbT4rerA
— S.A Crime Watch (@crimewatch202) July 13, 2021
Looters even removing the solar panels outside of this Makro in KZN pic.twitter.com/qLTSajH6nH
— Kobayashi’s Basilisk (@FaeceSocietatis) July 13, 2021
Senior vice president for group corporate affairs Brian Leroni said that Massmart’s immediate priorities were to ensure the safety of its staff and to better secure its physical assets.
It was also rapidly shifting its attention towards finalising plans to ensure the responsible reopening of affected stores as soon as it was safe to do so.
Regarding the impact of the looting on online deliveries, Leroni said that Massmart had contingency measures in place to address supply chain disruptions.
“Our distribution centre network has built-in redundancy for scenarios that disrupt supply, and so we have activated the related back-up plans.”
“Fortuitously, we are also in the final stages of commissioning a new state-of-the-art distribution centre in KwaZulu-Natal that is scheduled to open in Q4 this year,” he added.
He acknowledged that online orders would be affected by certain roads currently being inaccessible or unsafe in Kwazulu-Natal, as well as in isolated parts of Gauteng.
“We are proactively communicating with customers who may experience slight delays with their orders and have implemented measures, including rerouting orders to unaffected stores and distribution centres, to minimise delays.”
As it stands, Makro and Game’s online shopping platforms are still operating.
Leroni did not comment on the estimated cost of losses incurred by the company due to the looting.