Want to Volunteer to Help Rebuild SA? The good news it that there’s a group on Facebook that enables you to do just that. The group (RebuildSA – Volunteer Group) was created on Tuesday (the 13th of July 2021) and already has 21,000+ members (who are offering help to business that have been looted and damaged in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal).
Here’s Why We’re going to have Rebuild SA…
For the last few days looters and rioters have been targeting shopping malls, warehouses and other businesses in parts of KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng. Rioters have damaged infrastructure and businesses, disrupted logistics and looted goods worth millions of Rands, essentially affecting / destroying the livelihoods of thousands of people in South Africa.
The riots started out with people protesting the imprisonment of former South African president Jacob Zuma, but it has since escalated. 72 people have died so far and 1,200 people have been arrested.
According to unofficial sources, the amount of shops that have been looted and damaged in these two provinces is 470. According to these sources, 16 Clicks stores, 1 Foodlover’s Market, 215 Pep Stores, 20 Pick ‘n Pay Stores, 57 Spars in KZN, 5 Spars in Gauteng, 55 Boxer Stores, 2 Woolworths Stores, 6 Game Stores, 1 Makro, 1 Jumbo and 10 Cambridge stores have been looted and damaged. This list doesn’t include smaller businesses that have also been affected.
Many of these affected businesses can’t re-open and help to rebuild the COVID-19 affected SA economy. All of these businesses employ people who now are unable to work and earn money, so thousands of people are affected. In a country which has an estimated unemployment rate of 42%, this is concerning.
Law-abiding South Africans are fighting back
It’s no wonder that communities and organizations all around South Africa have been mobilizing and protecting the places where they shop. Taxi drivers are protecting their sources of income: the malls where they drop off and pick up people from daily.
South Africans have been working with the SAPS and the SANDF to protect their communities. Communities are utilizing Facebook Groups (like RebuildSA) and WhatsApp groups to co-ordinate their protection / relief efforts.
The reality is that it’s going to take a lot of work and billions of Rands to repair the damage that rioters and looters have caused.
Luckily there’s still good in South Africa
The RebuildSA Facebook group is proof of that. Since yesterday, people have been volunteering to help businesses and people affected by the riots on this group. The Facebook group’s objective is to clean up and help restore calm and peace within the affected areas. Some group members have come forward with offers for donations for those who may be in need of essentials as shops remained closed until further notice.
The group is apolitical and does not condone any vigilante behaviour. They are also not encouraging civilians to take the law into their own hands.
A list has been compiled that businesses who need help can add their names to. There’s a graphic designer offering to redesign store fronts for free. Namibians are offering financial support. Others are willing to provide free taxis, or to visit loved ones in retirement homes.
The founder of one volunteer Rebuild SA group on Facebook, Emelda Masanga, has said that she had anticipated just a few people volunteering to help clean and clear out the worst struck areas in Soweto. However Emelda has said that “this initiative has taken flight, we have been contacted by numerous agencies, companies, media outlets and, volunteers. We have been inundated with people who genuinely care about South Africa. The true spirit of Ubuntu.”
“I never anticipated that this small act of kindness would reach even the most affected in such a profound way. I am proud and overwhelmed. I have some team members that have volunteered to help and assist as I navigate and as we navigate the changes to a simple gesture of peace and love.”
Feel like doing your bit to rebuild SA? Join the group HERE.
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