Clicks says it won’t give in to EFF pressure after protests over racist ad

The retailer has come under fire and was forced to close 425 of its stores on Monday after outlets were attacked by EFF members venting their anger over a racist advert published on the Clicks website.

EFF members protest outside a Clicks store at the Sandton City shopping centre in Johannesburg on 7 September 2020. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – Clicks on Monday said that it could not give in to demands by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to close its 880 stores, especially during tough economic times when staff needed their jobs.

The retailer has come under fire and was forced to close 425 of its stores on Monday after outlets were attacked by EFF members venting their anger over a racist advert published on the Clicks website.

The ad called black hair “dry, damaged and frizzy”, compared to white hair, which was labelled as “normal”.

The company apologised and explained that the ad was created by TRESemmé.

Clicks CEO Vikesh Ramsunder said that while he understood the rage by South Africans over their racist ad, he did not think that any well-functioning democracy could find what happened to their stores acceptable.

IN PICTURES: EFF protest at Clicks stores against racist advert

But Ramsunder said they would not buckle under the EFF’s pressure.

“We live in a democracy and we have the rule of law here. And we cannot concede to a political party threatening us not to open our stores, particularly at a time like this when there is a scarcity of jobs [and] the economy is in trouble. We are a healthcare service provider and we have to service our customers,” he said.

As the EFF vows to continue with its attack approach, Clicks said that it was working with police to ensure the safety of staff and its customers.

WATCH: ‘Clicks must go to hell’ – EFF protest against store’s racist advert



EFF TO CONTINUE WITH PROTESTS AT CLICKS STORES

Meanwhile, Malema told EFF members to be ready to attack any Clicks branch that opens on Tuesday morning following the store’s racist advert.

The EFF leader said they had tried to bargain with Clicks, but they refused to listen and that is why they would continue to attack their stores.

“We asked them peacefully to not open their stores for the next five days, but they refused and to give us the list of the people who were involved in the advertisement. They also refused to terminate the contract of the company that was involved in projecting black people as ugly people,” Malema said.

Malema said that the EFF did not provoke Clicks in any way but the store had provoked all black people.

“White people insult us and then they apologise and think that it is the end. We are no longer going to accept any apology which is not accompanied by justice,” he said.

Despite a criminal case being open by the DA against the EFF for inciting public violence, malicious damage to property, and intimidation, Malema said they would continue to close any Clicks store that tried to open this week.

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