Minister of Police Bheki Cele said on Wednesday that although he firmly stands behind the protest against racism sparked by the controversial Clicks advert, he also believes that the safety of customers and protection of property is vital.
The genesis of this advert is glaring racism that is shown by this business and we must collectively condemn it at all costs. The demonstration of such blatant disregard and humiliation of African people can’t go unabated,” Cele said in a statement.
“Police should ensure that the rule of law is maintained. They must deal decisively with those who choose to break the law. I’m encouraged that officers are making arrests and urge them to continue to ensure the protection and safety of customers, staff members in the affected areas,” the minister added.
According to the police ministry, 10 people, including an EFF member of Parliament (MP), have been arrested for charges relating to the destruction of property.
The MP, who has not been publicly named yet, has been charged with assaulting a police officer and resisting arrest.
Another incident which caught police attention occurred in a mall in Walmer Park, Port Elizabeth, where a 52-year-old woman allegedly pulled out a firearm and pointed it at the EFF protesters.
Cele said the incident is being investigated.
The advert, which sparked public outrage for its alleged racist marketing tactic, has since been removed from the Clicks website, as has the products affiliated with the brand.
The advert, which showed a black woman with “dry and brittle” hair, made a comparison to that of a white woman with “finer and flat” hair.
Clicks said on Tuesday that the employees implicated in the matter have been suspended, and the senior executive responsible has resigned.
Clicks group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder offered another public apology on Tuesday and said the group will be working closely with the local government in order to help develop the local beauty sector.
“We recognise this event has had a significant impact on our people and our customers and we have taken a decision to close our stores for a day on Wednesday, 9 September.
“We will use this opportunity to engage directly with all our store staff across the country, to provide counselling and support. We will be supported by the ICAS employee health and wellness programme.
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