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'Marches hurt the economy'

02 November 2015 - 02:06 By Katharine Child

South Africans' propensity for protests might cost the economy millions of rands, with economists warning that the losses are carried by individuals and the government. They said the actual loss was nearly impossible to determine.Last week, thousands of marchers from the ANC Women's League and the Economic Freedom Fighters took to the streets.Though protests were a constitutional right, their frequency might be scaring away potential tourists and investors, said the experts.Economist Roelof Botha, a lecturer at the Gordon Institute of Business Science, said: "The perception is that South Africa is not entirely stable, socially or economically."Somebody might say they want to pursue business opportunities, but after seeing so many demonstrations, they may rather choose Nigeria, Vietnam or Chile."The negative impact on foreign direct investment was difficult to quantify."If you listened to Julius Malema at the EFF march, he sounded like a clone of Robert Mugabe. So, if you are a foreign businessman and you hear economic garbage, you are not going to invest," Botha said.Tourists might also perceive South Africa as dangerous, he said."The average tourist is not going to analyse how peaceful the march is."He said in a single day GDP grew by R10-billion. Of this 25% was paid in taxes."If four days are lost in a year [to protests] , then R10-billion in taxes is lost."Economist Mike Schussler said individuals, and not the economy, bore the costs, especially if their shops were looted or their cars damaged during protests."Even with a strike that takes two or three days, one cannot make up for lost production," Schussler said...

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