Clicks shutdown: SA weighs in on closing of retailer's stores

07 September 2020 - 17:30 By Unathi Nkanjeni
A sign attached to the Clicks at Goodwood Mall in Cape Town.
A sign attached to the Clicks at Goodwood Mall in Cape Town.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

The national shutdown of retailer Clicks by EFF members has been met with mixed reactions.

On Monday, the red berets embarked on a national shutdown of many Clicks stores, led by party leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu, after the offensive advert loaded on Clicks' website.

The retailer at the weekend sparked outrage after posting images which most viewed as discrimination against natural black hair.

The advert labelled photographs of African hair as “dry” and “damaged”, while examples of “fine” and “flat” hair were illustrated with photographs of blonde hair.

Many expressed their outrage on social media, calling the advert offensive and racist. The retailer later issued an apology and removed the ad.

“We have made a mistake and sincerely apologise for letting you down. We recognise we have a role to play in creating a more diverse and inclusive SA, starting with our website content. We know we need to do better, and commit to ensuring our content better reflects this value,” said Clicks.

The company said the advert was not its own and that it was commissioned by the hair company TRESemmé, which issued an apology on its website, saying the advert was meant to celebrate all hair types.

“We are very sorry that images used in a TRESemmé SA marketing campaign on the Clicks website promote racist stereotypes about hair.

“The campaign set out to celebrate the beauty of all hair types and the range of solutions that TRESemmé offers, but we got it wrong. The images are not in line with the values of our brand, or of Clicks.

“TRESemmé SA apologises for the offence these images have caused. We also apologise to the Clicks group. We are looking into how this happened and why it wasn’t picked up, and we will take all the necessary steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

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The EFF said the apology was not enough and mobilised its members to forcibly shut down all Clicks stores.

The party shared that it had received a letter from Clicks' lawyers before the shutdown.

“You racist lawyers of Pravin Jammanda Gordhan, and your racist client Clicks can go to their nearest hell,” read the EFF's response to the letter.

Werksmans Attorneys, which represent Clicks in the matter, has previously represented public enterprises minister Gordhan in his legal battles.

In various videos shared online, the EFF is seen to have closed down Clicks in Mall of Africa in Midrand, Clicks in Mall of the North in Polokwane, and Clicks in Goodwood Mall in Cape Town, to name a few.

The Clicks at Saveways Centre in Emalahleni in Witbank was damaged in a suspected petrol-bombing. A police source told TimesLIVE that there was minimal damage, with just a trolley catching fire.

The store said it would temporarily close until further notice.

On social media, many, including One SA leader Mmusi Maimane and former public protector Thuli Madonsela, weighed in on the shutdown.

Here is a snapshot of some of the reactions.


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