More local ICT firms impacted by rampant looting

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ICT distributor Mustek says its Durban offices were looted, and the building destroyed and set on fire, amid the wave of violence and looting in some parts of the country.

The unrest and destruction originated in certain parts KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), and quickly spread to Gauteng. It was sparked by protest action against the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma.

This week, all four of the South African mobile operators – Cell C, MTN, Telkom and Vodacom – confirmed temporarily closing stores in KZN, due to the ongoing risk of violence.

Nicole Orr, national marketing executive at Mustek, told ITWeb that the looting started on Monday, and continued on Tuesday.

“On Monday, we requested that our staff stay at home – there was no staff on the premises. We have no injuries and no one was hurt.

“On Monday, the looters gained access to the business park and managed to break into the building. They first gained access into the top part of the building on Monday, where they looted and stole all of our equipment – tables, desks, chairs and computer infrastructure, everything was looted.

“They also gained access into our warehouse area. They vandalised trucks on the premises that do distribution…the trucks weren’t loaded, but our warehouse was fully destroyed and all the equipment taken from there.

“On Tuesday afternoon, once the police had left the area, the looters returned and set the building alight,” she continues, adding that it’s not a good situation.

“We are currently investigating interim measures in terms of setting up warehousing and service operations in facilities, but that can only come to fruition once the violence and looting has died down in the region as a whole.

“We will look at servicing our customers from our Mustek head office in Midrand, but that all depends on couriers and delivery services resuming and the routes into KZN being operational,” Orr states.

Similarly, LG Electronics SA’s Durban-based factory, located at Cornubia Industrial Park, in Sundew Road, Ethekwini, was on Monday affected by the protest action in the community.

In a statement, LG says no workers have been injured as a result of the factory looting and fire.

The company indicates the current situation is under investigation by its executive team, noting that updates will be shared as they are available.

Deuk Soo Ahn, president of LG South Africa, says: “We take the safety of our workers very seriously and would like to reassure South Africans that we are working as swiftly and with great caution as we investigate the impact of what occurred at our factory in Durban. It’s by no means an easy situation and we are working hard to ensure operations get back up and running.”

Some of Samsung South Africa’s authorised service centres and contact centre have also been affected by the ongoing unrest, the company said in a statement today.

Samsung confirms this will result in “limited operation”, and therefore strongly encourages customers to use its alternative online channels.

“Samsung South Africa’s priority is the health and safety of our employees, customers and the general public. We are closely monitoring the current unrest in the country, while continuing to deliver services and support to all our stakeholders where possible.

“We can at this point report that, to date, there have been no casualties at Samsung offices and locations. We will continue to do everything we can to protect our people, who are the core of our business. After careful consideration, and as a precautionary measure, we have decided that our offices and warehouses will remain closed at this time.”

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17 Aug
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