Minister Patel describes July 2021 unrest as sabotage

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Trade and Industry Minister, Ebrahim Patel has described the July 2021 unrest as sabotage in which the perpetrators had a hidden agenda that has severely affected the country’s economy. He was speaking in Sandton, north of Johannesburg, when he appeared before the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) Gauteng hearings on the unrest to share the socio-economic context of the aftermath of the unrest.

About 350 people died in the week-long violence and looting that caused over R50-billion worth of damage to businesses and infrastructure in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Patel says the unrest has exacerbated the unemployment rate.

“We note that at a time prior to the unrest we took a snapshot of the country in June 2021. It would have indicated that just short of 15 million people were employed, but on the other hand 7.8 million people were unemployed and had actively looked for work in the previous few weeks. If you count discouraged work seekers, you can add a further 3.3 million people. Our unemployment rate, official unemployment rate of 34.5%, is very high,” says Patel.

VIDEO: Department of Trade and Industry updates on support since the July unrest: