Embattled retail pharmacy group Clicks announced on its Facebook page that its stores will be closed on Wednesday…
The announcement follows a tumultuous start to the week which saw EFF members across the country descend on Clicks outlets to shut them down.
When the red berets made it clear they intended to proceed with their shutdown campaign which began on Monday, Clicks tried to put its customers and employees at ease.
The group posted: “Clicks provides a much-needed healthcare service to South Africans and stores will not be closed. Contingency plans have been put in place to ensure the safety of both customers and staff.”
Additional security guards were deployed to some outlets and police were alerted to the expected tensions.
Some encounters turned violent
While some stores were closed by EFF members without incident, videos doing the rounds on social media showed that some encounters turned violent and property was destroyed. Staff were ordered to leave the pharmacies as overall-clad EFF members put chains and locks on entrance doors.
Acknowledging the trauma this may have caused some employees, Clicks announced the Wednesday closure to its more than 1.2 million followers on Tuesday afternoon.
“We will be engaging directly with all our store staff across the country to provide counselling and support. We are sorry for the inconvenience.”
Clicks apologised for the hair advert which sparked uproar
The images describing Afro hair as “dry & damaged” were immediately removed from its website.
Group CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said that he “consulted widely with diverse stakeholders” about ways to “make amends.”
Since then, Clicks has accepted the resignation of a senior executive and suspended employees who were involved in the marketing campaign.
Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni rejected Clicks apology and recommended that the group reconsider the products on their shelves. Ntshavheni suggested that TRESemme, the product supplier and brains behind the controversial advert material, be cancelled and replaced by local natural hair product brands.
On Tuesday, the pharmacy group said: “Clicks delists TRESemme brand, expands range of local haircare products, and is working with government to develop our local beauty market.”
In response to Clicks Wednesday closure announcement, EFF leader Julius Malema tweeted: “It looks like we are getting somewhere, don’t give up fighters. All racists must fall, including their apologist.”