Basic economics or waste? SA divided by government’s decision to destroy recovered looted goods

25 July 2021 - 10:00 By unathi nkanjeni
Police have recovered thousands of rand worth of looted goods, including beds, electronic appliances and mag wheels, in and around Durban this week.
Police have recovered thousands of rand worth of looted goods, including beds, electronic appliances and mag wheels, in and around Durban this week.
Image: Lirandzu Themba

Scores online are up in arms about government’s decision to destroy recovered looted goods. 

This week police recovered thousands of rand worth of items stolen from warehouses and retail stores that were looted and damaged last week during the unrest in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. 

Police have been following up on tip-offs from community members in both provinces to recover suspected stolen goods.

According to acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, stolen goods were being destroyed because they are no different from fake products. 

“Our people do not understand the things that affect the economy. The stolen goods are no different from counterfeit products and that is why we destroy them,” she explained. 

“If the goods are stolen, it means the manufacturers of those goods are not going to generate an income from them that enables them to pay employees and continue with their businesses.”

She said the money generated from looted goods would not be taxed, which is a loss to government.

“When destroying counterfeit products, you are making sure the manufacturers can make replacement products and make them available in the market with benefits in terms of tax. The companies continue to operate and pay salaries to their workers. That is basic economics,” said Ntshavheni.

Her statement comes after police minister Bheki Cele said the stolen goods will be put in a storage facility and might be used as evidence in pending cases. 

Recovered looted goods include beds, electronic items, mag wheels and a casket. 

The Leather Gallery furniture store in Springfield, Durban, is still searching for its stolen R67,999 San Pablo leather couch.

The company posted on its Instagram account that it was looking for the couch but was willing to exchange it for something that “fits the house”.

On social media, many expressed different views on government’s decision to destroy looted goods. 

Here is a snapshot of what they said: 

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