Violent protests at South Africa’s retail chain store Clicks were “against the spirit of peace and respect for human rights that have shaped this country since the dawn of democracy,” the presidency said on Tuesday.The high office’s remarks followed Monday’s nationwide protests that saw the destruction of several shops owned by health and beauty retailer Clicks over an alleged racist advert that claimed that black women’s hair was “dull, dry and damaged,” while that of white women was “fine, flat and normal.”
Led by the opposition Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the protestors demanded the complete shutdown of the retail chain for one week or the dismissal of the entire top management involved in the conceptualisation and display of the controversial advert as a condition to stop the protests.
While the presidency was equally disturbed by “the crude racist” display of the advertisement in question, acts of lawlessness, including vandalism and burning of Clicks stores, were of concern,” the office said.
Lawless behaviour was not a responsible way to resolve conflicts, it added.
Instead, South Africans should resist the temptation to take the law into their own hands, but to remain calm and follow the correct and legal channels to address their concerns, the presidency said.
Meanwhile, the retailer has been obtained a court injunction to stop the demonstrations from taking place.
The court has ordered the EFF to “stop intimidating Clicks employees and customers, and to stop inciting violence against Clicks’ operators.”
The EFF has yet to respond to the court injunction but in a statement on Monday the party vowed to continue with its protests until Clicks dismissed the entire top management responsible for the offending advert.