GEORGE NEWS & VIDEOS - Clicks plans to reopen all stores today. Nationwide all Clicks stores closed their doors on Wednesday to provide councelling and support to their staff following protest action, sometimes extremely violent, by the EFF.
Outraged by an online advert for hair products by Clicks which depicted black hair as "dry and damaged" and "frizzy and dull" (placing it in contrast with Caucasian hair) the EFF launched a national campaign against the chain store giant on Monday and caused damage to several outlets across the country.
In a statement yesterday Clicks said they plan to open shop on Thursday 10 September after the Johannesburg High Court granted an interdict, preventing the EFF from intimidating and threatening anyone and inciting violence.
EFF provincial chairperson Melikhaya Xego said they will stick to their plan to close stores Friday 11 September. "When they open on Thursday we will visit Clicks and check their hair catalogue, maybe buy some products," he said. "And then, we will help them to close the store. We said they may operate again on Saturday."
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In George four men aged between 28 and 42 were arrested on Monday by the public order police (Pops) outside the Clicks store at Van der Stel Square in the central business district during a local EFF protest.
On Tuesday the police were swarming the Garden Route Mall following a protest by the political party in front of Clicks. The EFF has also set its sights on Mossel Bay, moving between the various malls to make sure the chain store can't continue business. Xego said their protests in the Garden Route are peaceful.
According to Southern Cape police spokesperson Captain Malcolm Pojie, the arrests on Monday were in connection with the contravention of the Disaster Management Act (lockdown), by means of an illegal gathering, as well as hindering the police in the execution of their duties.
The four suspects were released and warned to appear in the George Magistrate's Court on 1 October.
Without splitting hairs about who was at fault, Clicks apologised for their blunder and CEO Vikesh Ramsunder expressed his disappointment that the company has allowed insensitive and offensive images to be published on its website.
He said although the images and content were provided by their supplier, TRESemmé, it does not absolve them from blame. Ramsunder said Clicks will be delisting and removing all TRESemmé products from its shelves and will replace the gap with locally sourced haircare brands. Clicks employees involved in the matter have been suspended.
In a statement on Monday, Clicks revealed that 425 of their stores reported protest action by the EFF. "At last count 51 stores have closed in the Western Cape, 92 in Kwa-Zulu Natal and the Eastern Cape, and 302 in Gauteng and elsewhere." Clicks was unable to estimate the total damage to stores, given the ongoing protest action. It promised legal action against perpetrators.
DA MP Andrew Whitfield (Shadow Minister of Police) yesterday said their party welcomes the arrests of 10 people including an EFF MP for the destruction of property during the protests.
Whitfield said this vandalism can have serious consequences for Clicks employees whose livelihoods could be severely strained if these shops were to be closed permanently.
Xego said it is not the first time that a big corporate company insults black people. "We want to hit them where it matters," the provincial EFF chairperson said.
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