Clicks store trashed, another 'petrol-bombed' as EFF protests over hair ad

07 September 2020 - 09:37
By Naledi Shange
A sign attached to the Clicks at Goodwood Mall in Cape Town.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times A sign attached to the Clicks at Goodwood Mall in Cape Town.

The Clicks at Saveways Centre in Emalahleni (Witbank) was damaged in a suspected petrol-bombing on Monday morning, while a store in Komani was trashed by EFF protesters.

A police source in Emalahleni told TimesLIVE that there was minimal damage, with just a trolley catching fire. Management of Saveways Clicks confirmed the incident. They said they were still conducting an investigation.

LISTEN | Celebs weigh in on 'racist' Clicks ad campaign and ensuing protests

This comes as the EFF is leading a protest aimed at shutting stores run by the beauty and health retailer countrywide, after an advert deemed demeaning to black hair.

The EFF in Emalahleni denies any involvement in the damage caused, and questioned whether it was even a petrol-bombing.

Colleen Sedibe from the EFF's provincial legislature in Mpumalanga told TimesLIVE that the fire could have been an electric fault.

At another store in the town, staff were forced to evacuate after calls by the EFF for them to come out. The group of staff, who were advised to come to work in plain clothing, are now standing a few metres from the shop.

Video footage has also been shared showing a Clicks store in the Eastern Cape town of Komani being trashed.

Party leader Julius Malema is outside Clicks at the Mall of the North, Polokwane.

“The only way to make capitalists apologise and feel genuine remorse is for them to lose money. #ClicksMustFall,” the party states.

In Atteridgeville near Pretoria, EFF protesters placed a lock on a Clicks store to prevent it from opening.

Doctor Mampuru, EFF chairperson in ward 107, said: “We wanted to make sure that they are closed so we had to put our own chain, so now it is officially closed.”

Patrick Ungani, deputy chairperson of the EFF in ward 3, said they were prepared to stage a sit-in for the whole week and would not remove the lock.

“We gave Clicks some demands to meet and they failed to meet them. So now we are here to send a message to them that whatever racism they have, we will deal with them decisively. From the EFF side we are disciplined and we are here to shut down Clicks. We will sit here until the 12th,” he said.

EFF members have locked the Clicks store in Atlyn mall in Atteridgeville. The members said they would not remove the lock until Clicks responded to them.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange EFF members have locked the Clicks store in Atlyn mall in Atteridgeville. The members said they would not remove the lock until Clicks responded to them.

A woman, who wanted to be identified as Mavis, was stunned by the closure of Clicks and the singing men and women in red.

The 47-year-old said she loves shopping at Clicks. “Where will we buy if they are closed? I love to buy body lotions here and they always have nice specials,” she said.

However, Mavis also objected to the tone of the controversial hair ad. “What they said about our hair doesn't sit well with me,” she said.

At a Clicks store in Roodepoort on Monday morning, it was business as usual. An employee who asked not to be named told TimesLIVE that staff weren’t “really worried about disruptions”.

“Julius is not thinking straight. Why are the other parties not complaining about the advert? Why is it always just his party [EFF] that is complaining? Just imagine if he was president what would have happened. He is just causing havoc.”

At Clicks at Northgate Mall in Randburg, it was also business as usual. An armed security guard stood at the entrance of the store.

Clicks has apologised for the advert on its website, as has brand TRESemmé SA.

Commenting on the protest on Sunday, Clicks said it “provides a much-needed health care service to South Africans and stores will not be closed. Contingency plans have been put in place to ensure the safety of customers and staff.”

The retailer added it had taken full accountability and apologised unreservedly for the advertisement published on its website, and had taken immediate action to address all concerns.

TRESemme said: “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 necessary steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Despite the apologies, protests were staged at various centres on Monday morning by groups EFF supporters, including at the Mall of Africa. The Clicks store was closed as members of the EFF sang protest songs at its door.

This is a developing story

— Additional reporting by TimesLIVE journalists