Flash Briefing: PnP calls for urgent lifting of alcohol ban; SA most vaccinated African nation; NPA pursue alleged riot instigators

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  • Grocery retailer Pick n Pay’s CEO Pieter Boone says the alcohol sales ban urgently needs to be lifted, especially in the aftermath of last week’s widespread rioting and looting as many independent retailers won’t survive if it goes on for much longer. Boone said Pick n Pay was working very hard in anticipation of the lifting of the ban. “By the end of next week, we will have repaired and be ready to reopen 28 of our 76 severely damaged liquor stores in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.” In total, 136 of Pick n Pay’s food, grocery, clothing and building stores across KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng were looted and/or burnt down, along with 76 liquor stores. Two Pick n Pay distribution centres in KwaZulu-Natal were also severely damaged.  
  • The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) has tasked senior prosecutors with driving cases against alleged instigators of the public violence and looting which began in KwaZulu-Natal and spread to Gauteng last week. On Wednesday, parliament’s portfolio committee on justice and correctional services raised questions about the work of the courts, NPA and SA Police Service (SAPS) to arrest those responsible for stoking the unrest during which at least 215 people died. The committee heard police have arrested more than 3,400 suspects, of whom 1,700 were in custody. Advocate Shamila Batohi, the national director of public prosecutions, has stated that the NPA would “follow the evidence” only and serve the people of SA, not political factions.
  • With over 2.3 million Covid-19 infections, South Africa is the worst-hit country on the African continent. However, the country is also leading the way with regards to vaccinations. According to Bloomberg, a record 257 492 Covid-19 shots were administered on Wednesday 21, adding to the ever-increasing total of just over 5.8 million. This uptick in vaccine distribution follows the announcement that over-35s are now eligible for their Covid-19 shot.
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