The political unrest in South Africa, which has seen crowds looting and setting alight shopping centres following the jailing of former president Jacob Zuma, has had an impact on local businesses.
The vicious cycle of violence, death and looting that erupted in South Africa on Friday is continuing, compounding already contracted regional economic performance in the face of a devastating global pandemic.
Small Namibian businesses that depend on South Africa for stock said they were hard hit by the unfolding impasse. Some of those who had already bought stock said their goods were still in South Africa and were not sure if it would be successfully delivered. A Durban supplier, who chose to remain anonymous, said the shops have been closed since Friday and have not been able to take new orders.
“We have not been able to go to work since Friday and the shops are closed because of the violence,” he said. In Johannesburg, business is also on hold, as outlets remained closed since Sunday. “The situation is bad, and shops remain closed for now.” The suppliers are, however, hopeful calm would be restored soon for business to continue as normal. Back home, it is not business as usual because those who order items weekly are not able to procure new stock.
“It is a bad time for all of us, not just for South Africa. Since the start of the week, we are not able to order anything which translates to no income at the end of the day,” said trader Lavinia Shikongo. Businesswoman Paulina Iita-Nenkavu said small traders who import clothes, perfumes and other small goods for resale, will also possibly face loss of income as some goods which they have already ordered are being destroyed in transit to Namibia.
“This loss on all businesses affected can also lead to permanent closure of businesses which will lead to loss of jobs. Businesses are already doing badly as it is.
This current event will make it difficult for some businesses to survive,” said Iita-Nenkavu. She added the violence will not only negatively affect small businesses but will also trickle down to a shortage of food and other small commodities. “We are at risk of experiencing a shortage of goods as this has a negative effect on the supply. This can also result in an increase in the cost of basic commodities,” said Iita-Nenkavu.