News / South Africa

Eric Naki
Political Editor
2 minute read
19 Nov 2021
5:15 am

How community violence, no jobs affect businesses

Eric Naki

For the first time, a survey has revealed how community violence impacted businesses in South Africa contributed to unemployment.

Picture File: Looters outside a shopping centre alongside a burning barricade in Durban on 12 July. Picture: KoreaTimes/AP-Yonhap

For the first time, a survey has revealed how community violence impacted businesses in South Africa and how the scourge also contributed to unemployment and work absenteeism, or alternatively, affected employee “presenteeism”.

The second annual Impact of Violence on Business survey, commissioned by leading European bank, BNP Paribas South Africa and its consumer finance arm, RCS, has revealed a direct correlation between unemployment and crime and the far-reaching effects of violence on local communities and businesses.

BNP Paribas has an international reach and operates in 68 countries.

The survey focused on the experiences of 500-plus individuals living in 31 high-crime areas in South Africa, including Nyanga in the Western Cape and Alexandra in Gauteng, as well as corporate respondents and Trainer of Trainees from the Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative (WPDI).

RCS chief executive officer Regan Adams said “90% of corporates and 94% of WPDI respondents said community violence negatively impacts the career growth of employees” as they had a direct impact on how businesses operate.

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“Furthermore, 75% of corporates and 94% of WPDI respondents said community violence negatively impacts on the presenteeism of their employees.

It is imperative that corporates take a multifaceted approach to the promotion of peace that the private sector must support.”

The report was summarised in PowerPoint format presentations by various company speakers during a webinar held on Wednesday.

It came just five months after the country was reeling from the effects of the violent insurrection that claimed at least 300 lives and caused more than R50 billion damage, mainly to businesses in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The violence threatened to engulf the entire country and rendered many jobless and further put the economy on the brink.

A total of 78% of participants surveyed reported being absent from work as a result of violence or crime, with 80% reporting that they, or a person they know, was late for work as a result.

Among others, the report also showed that in 2021, incidents of physical violence increased from 38% to 59%, while incidents resulting in physical injury have increased to 53% from 27% last year.

A total of 80% reported feeling unsafe in their neighbourhood, an increase of 19% from 2020, with 53% of respondents having felt the impact of violence and 90% of corporates saying community violence negatively impacts the career growth of employees.